Combat Artist Tells Corps' Story Through Artwork
(May 10, 2010)
|BOSTON (MCN - 5/6/2010) — The phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” may
mean more to some than it does to others. To combat artists, art is history in
the making. A combat artist has the ability to create art from the moment it
Sgt. Kristopher Battles, a combat artist with the National Museum of the Marine
Corps, is currently serving as the Corps' combat artist. He visited the John F.
Kennedy School of Government for Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.,
Wednesday where he showcased his artwork to tell Marine Corps history during
|Sgt. Kristopher J. Battles, the combat artist with the National Museum of the Marine Corps, stands in front of his paintings, May 5, 2010, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government for Harvard University. Battles showed several paintings, sketches and portraits for residents and tourists to see the artwork of a combat artist, in Cambridge, Mass., to help tell the Marine Corps story during Marine Week. Photo by Cpl. Alicia R. Giron
Battles joined the Corps in 1986 and served as a computer operator, combat
correspondent and chaplain's assistant. After serving four years in the
Corps, Battles graduated Northeast Missouri State University with a
Bachelors of Fine Arts in 1991, and said he has pursued his love of art ever
“It's very rewarding to paint a piece of history,” said Battles. “The public
needs to know what the Marines are doing. Our job is to document and provide
a personal and emotional medium for the American public to understand what
Battles found his profession in combat artistry after submitting his
portfolio to an active chief warrant officer combat artist. The warrant
officer was impressed with Battles' work and then referred him to the
National Museum of the Marine Corps, where Battles was interviewed by the
director and a curator of the museum.
In order for Battles to become a combat artist for the museum, he had to
reenlist in the Marine Corps as active duty. At 38, Battles then called
himself a combat artist. Shortly after reenlisting, Battles experience
deployed to Iraq for the first time.
“The Marine Corps' purpose on sending combat artists overseas is to show the
families what their Marines are experiencing,” said Battles. “It's rewarding
when a Marine sees a piece of art and says ‘Hey, I was there, I was on that
The deployment to Iraq gave Battles a sharper eye for what should be
portrayed in a combat zone. He said he was able to see what the families
couldn't, and he showed them what life was like in a hostile environment
through his artwork.
“It's almost incalculable what he is able to do,” said Joan Thomas, an art
curator for the museum. “Artwork paints a broader perspective then what
Thomas explained that through a camera lens a person is limited to what he
sees, while a portrait can grasp the full perspective.
“It's a unique experience to grasp the art and input into the Marine Corps,”
said Battles. “The portraits really provide a slice of life for the people
back home about what it's like to be in a combat zone.”
By USMC Cpl. Samuel A. Nasso and Cpl. Alicia R.
Headquarters Marine Corps
Marine Corps News
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