The New York Times has just run an online series by war artist Michael Fay that is exceptionally moving and thought-provoking. Over the past decade, Fay has seen action as a war artist with US troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but his latest journey was to a military veterans’ hospital in Richmond, Virginia. In the resulting New York Times blogs, he relays his meetings with three young men severely wounded in Afghanistan. His account of their injuries and rehabilitation is gripping, but what really deepens the reporting are his drawings, reproduced alongside the articles. Fay is clearly sympathetic with soldiers and his affinity with them is reflected in the very style of these drawings. “Strong and sensitive” would be the simplest way to characterise his on-the-spot observations. A bold, manly line delineates damaged faces and bodies, but with a softening edge of affection. There is real feeling in the sketches, as well as a painstaking accuracy that vindicates the idea of sending artists to war. Fay’s drawings have a disarming humanity that it is hard to imagine being captured by a TV camera. You feel – you hope – these drawings were therapeutic for the men themselves.
more from Jonathan Jones at The Guardian here.