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Go To War, Do Art: Classical Realism Depicts Modern War Moments

2503 words - 11 pages

“When a Marine or wounded warrior sees that an artist cares for them enough to sit down and talk with the person, find out about them and sketch them, that shows in the drawing,” said Staff Sergeant Kristopher Battles, United States Marine Corps, when interviewed about his influence as a combat artist (Official Devil Dog War Art). As a combat artist, Battles aimed to realistically portray all of war: from the active, intense moments, to the quiet moments of waiting and monotony between the adrenaline. To this day, Battles is recognized as one of the few official Marine Corps artists by the United States Marine Corps, and is currently the only one still recognized by the Marine Corps . As a combat artist, all of his work is owned by the United States Marine Corps and therefore, is only displayed in Marine Corps museums. From an active soldier, to a civilian, and then back to the battle grounds to create art, Sergeant Kristopher Battles has dedicated his life to serving the United States of America, and through his art, his service will stand the tests of time. Battles’ use of traditional media in his combat art, especially the piece The Chess Game, is a more accurate depiction of war than a photograph because of the natural moments portrayed, the closeness to the subjects he exhibits, and the familiarity with the background details of the piece .
In 1986, Kristopher Battles enlisted into the United States Marine Corps (USMC) where he served his country in many different roles, ranging from a computer operator to a chaplain’s assistant. Then, in 1991, Battles graduated from Northeast Missouri State . It was from that point forward, he was able to pursue his true passion in life : art. After serving eight years in the USMC Reserves, Battles left the Marine Corps in pursuit of an art career in the private sector. He was able to find gainful employment as a freelance artist (Battles ).
As the years went on, the United States was leading the fight against terrorism, and Battles wanted to serve his country once again. In 2005, Battles reached out to a combat artist, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Fay. Battles showed Fay some of his artwork ; Fay was impressed with his talents and forwarded the works to the Marine Corps Museum curator. This was a necessary step in order for Battles to have any chance of becoming a combat artist, as this is an appointed job where individuals are hand selected and have a skill before enlisting. After reviewing Battles’ artwork, the curator of the National Museum of the Marine Corps decided to interview Battles and extend an offer to reenlist. Battles eagerly accepted the chance to serve again, especially in a role in which he would be tasked with documenting troop life through the use of traditional media (Naso and Giron).
In June of 2006, Battles reenlisted into the Marine Corps, and by October he found himself in the middle of a war zone deep within the boundaries of Iraq; then after safely returning home, Battles...

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