Show 2 : JJ Llanes Rifle

Artist: JJ Lanes

Medium: Colored Pencil

Show: Vol. 2

I am a US Army veteran who served with the 1221 st Engineer Battalion in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 as a member of a CounterIED task force. I have always thought of my artwork as an outlet to relieve stress and anxiety. My work has become an important role in coping with issues from combat stress.

Drawing allows me to focus on attention to detail and to show some ideas and thoughts I have without having to care what others may think about my experience and most importantly without having to vocally share my thoughts.

These works are primarily made with color pencil on toned-tan paper. The purple heart drawing (Purple and Red) has a small amount of purple marker over parts of purple colored pencil. The combat badges are made with color pencils and graphite to achieve metallic tones. Both are finished with fixative to preserve the works integrity.

I thought it was important to create these works to focus on the sacrifices that were made by the individuals who have earned these awards. The first time I saw a purple heart in person was when my unit lost two soldiers (SSG Harley and SGT Rabon). I wanted to honor them in this work.

The other work, entitled “Patroclus,” is an homage to a character in Greek mythology, the beloved comrade and brother-at-arms to Achilles. What he represents to me is each and every one of those men and women who fought alongside me in the swirling dirt of the desert. Without their support, I would never have made it back to my country and my home. I will never forget your sacrifice.