They’re not only faces that have seen war….they’re stories.
“I hope what people get is a sense of the big picture the American personal experience of these wars,” said Matt Mitchell.
Matt Mitchell is the artist behind “100 faces of war”.
Each portrait has a story with it, a letter, poem or journal entry sharing their experience.
“Each person when they gave me their statement it’s mind blowing without fail, each person adds to the dialogue,” added Mitchell.
Heart wrenching details of life after war, or surviving an I-e-d explosion.
That’s what left army major and former Chaplin, Father Tim, disfigured.
“I felt he was important to add because he had such an incredible personal struggle, in a come for 3-years who was told he might not recover,” recalled Mitchell.
The Amherst artist realized capturing “the faces of war” meant finding all kinds of people effected by war. Soldiers, civilian workers in the war zone and the injured.
Like Father Tim and Rick Yarosh, who was one of the most enthusiastic about his portrait.
“When I look at Rick it took me a very short time to see his inherent beauty in the surface of his skin. It’s different as an artist, because he doesn’t have landmarks, like ears or nose so it was a struggle to get his personality out,” explained Mitchell.
Some stories are read during weekend performances at the art show.
With only 50 portraits so far… Mitchell is half way there.
He has plenty of willing subjects but says he won’t and can’t complete the project until the wars are over.
“110 faces of war” is part of a bigger show “observing a decade since September 2001″ at the Canal Gallery in Holyoke.
It runs through October 28th, there will be another live performance at “100 faces of war” the weekend of October 15 & 16th.