Moving Collage Milan J.


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This is my moving collage. It is a mixture of a piece from the NVAM permanent collection and a piece of art work made by me. I designed this on a whim and a thought about how I can express my artistic life through colors. It shows the way that it was so simple and monochromatic to the time currently when I accepted other things and mixed it in together.

Keon C. Moving Collage

I created this piece to show how although there is violence in the world, there is still hope. This piece is to create a type of peace and although things may look bad now, if you really think hard and believe in yourself, it can come out right. I used this collage to make a message to everyone that the government isn’t as honest as they say they are and safe. But we, as individuals and as a group, need to come together to get through this, to unite as one and this where my collage comes from. You can see that the different parts all come together to form as a big whole this is what i am trying to get at.


Cristian N. Meeting Mac MacDervitt

Meeting Mac MacDervitt was a wonderful experience to have. To find out that there is an art category that allows the viewer of the artwork to have full control of how they think and want the artwork to look is astonishing to me. I feel that connects the artist and the viewer in a way that the original piece of art can be seen and could be left alone, but at the same time the viewer may change the art to his or her liking. The picture below shows my look on this piece, my own imagination and creativity was put into this piece.  I enjoyed exploring this art and I will say I would like sometime in the future to try one day.

The Dark Side Of America

Keon C. Accordion book

This is what i am. these are the things that i chose that i think best expresses me. Like the microphone, that symbolizes that im a poet/mc, and i like to say what i think. Or the word LIFE that is in different colors. this to me means that life is filled with beauty and is bright and very amazing. I also chose the two words, Golden Thoughts, because your thoughts are golden.  Everything you think has a meaning whether you know it or not and its worth alot of things.

The Vietnam War Lives On & On

My new position as the Assistant Education Coordinator at the National Veterans Art Museum has rekindled my interest in researching history and recognizing how relevant this history is in a contemporary context specifically through art. I think it is really important to understand the history of a place before and after war. For example long before 1954 when the Vietnam War started there is a long history of occupation and colonization by China (until the 9th century), France (1858-1940, 1945-1950), and Japan (1940-1945). The long enduring struggle of the Vietnamese people and a sense of ownership and freedom escalated into the Vietnam War.

Here is an incredibly brief look at this escalation: Ho Chi Minh, communist revolutionary leader, declared an independent Vietnam, called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and helped lead the defeat of the French Union at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.The Vietnam War started in 1954 between Communist Northern Vietnam with the southern allies, the Viet Cong, against anti-communist Southern Vietnam and the United States (who declared it our nation’s mission to end communism). U.S. combat troops were sent in 1965 after assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, first president of Southern Vietnam in 1963. After years of terror and violence, The United States withdrew forces in 1973, only two years prior when North Vietnamese overran the southern capital, Saigon, renaming it Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam unified as a communist country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in 1976.

The Vietnam War ended years ago, but still remains as important as critical discussion as it’s influence on American culture from social politics to media and art. I am looking at the timeline of the history of the Vietnam War through the lens of protest music and the new lives that songs can have in different contexts and throughout time. Here is a small sample of songs from the beginning of my research:

>This selection of Vietnam War Protest songs begins with Eve of Destruction (1965) written by P.F. Sloan and performed by Barry McGuire which famously references the age that one could be drafted (18) versus the age that one could vote in the majority of states (21) “You’re old enough to kill, but not for voting”.

>Jim Morrison’s (The Doors) reaction to the Vietnam War with Unknown Soldier (1968) specifically references concerns in the way the public was receiving information about the war through the media. Images coming to the states from over seas from Vietnam were uncensored for the most part and it shocked the American public, causing immense distress. Veterans coming home from war were horribly mistreated from the misunderstanding of the images filtering through the media. Today the American public is “protected” from real images of war. For example this  The War Photo No One Would Publish” an article by Torie Rose DeGhett from The Atlantic, discusses a photograph taken by Kenneth Jareck on February 28, 1991 of an Iraqi soldier burned alive while trying to escape from his truck and how Jareck thought “The image and its anonymous subject might have come to symbolize the Gulf War. Instead, it went unpublished in the United States, not because of military obstruction but because of editorial choices”. What is right and wrong?

>I have also included I-Am-Fixin-To-Die Rag (1967) written by Country Joe McDonald, one of the more famous anti-war protest songs of Vietnam and the video is from an unplanned and impassioned performance of the song at Woodstock in 1969 which was featured with a bouncing ball, singalong in the 1970 documentary, Woodstock.

> War (1969) is a famous Motown song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong as “a blatant anti-Vietnam war protest” originally recorded by The Temptations, however is most known for the powerful performance by Edwin Starr. War remains a popular song today and has also been performed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Bruce Springsteen.

>I chose to end the sample playlist with Orange Crush (1988) by R.E.M. one of my favorite bands growing up, but only from doing this research is it the first time that I recognized that Michael Stipe, lead singer, was singing about a young man going to Vietnam and Agent Orange, aerial herbicide manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense by the Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical. It was been years since the Vietnam War ended, but contemporary artists are referencing what happened because the Vietnam War remains relevant and impactful today.

Please comment below for your thoughts, opinions, and feedback!

Moki Tantoco

Continue reading “The Vietnam War Lives On & On”

Art Gallery: Cristian N.


Title: Going Into the Darkness

Made: July 2014

Description: This is a preview, a quick sketch, of my upcoming final project. As the middle child in my family I feel like it was a hard job to live with. Having to be a role model and follow in a older sibling’s foot steps was something hard for me to do. So when I started to become lazy in school, I felt like I wasn’t fitting the standards my family wanted. I felt like an outcast in my head. This artwork represents these feelings I have. The darkness represents me being overcome with confusion and sadness of not being able to fit in.


Title: Pikachu Stencil

Made: July 2014

Description: This is my first time working with spray paint and making a stencil. We worked with a veteran named Mel and he helped us try our first attempts at spray painting.



Art Gallery: Jeremy B.

Continue reading “Art Gallery: Jeremy B.”

Artwork by Jesus R.

These four past weeks at NVAM have thought me a lot about art that I didn’t know, and gave me experiences I have never had. For example, I have never drew about my memories and I have never combined my memories with anyone else’s memories. One thing I learned from talking to veterans and learning from their experiences is that once you shoot a human being it stays with you forever, and before I came to NVAM I thought once you kill a person you never think about it again, and go on with your life.

Ned and Walter Reflection by Jeremy B.

Jeremy ReflectionI wrote this because Ned had a very positive attitude, especially compared to most veterans who visit. He talked about serving as if he really liked it, which most veterans don’t. Ned was really funny too, as was Walter. However, Walter was way more serious than Ned. He was mostly serious, but he did crack a couple jokes every now and then. They were both really cool people, and I had fun meeting the two of them and hearing their stories.


Gallery Reflection by Jeremy B.

Arcade Barker (60 x 48 in.)

Oil and Emulsion on Canvas

By: Richard Yohnka – Served in U.S. Army, Vietnam


The artist seems to like tigers because he has something that looks like a tiger in four of the six pieces he has on the current gallery floor. All of his pieces are very creepy, and my four favorite works by him are all very colorful as well.

Arcade Barker is my favorite of the following four by Yohnka: Scary-Go-Round, Arcade Barker, Shell Game, and Dodge’m. It seems to have bunnies striped with tiger-like patterns, but each has its own unique color. Everything with a face in this piece has rather sharp teeth, including these bunnies. This may be one reason why it’s so disturbing. I notice that the bunnies seem to be defying gravity. They are running around two circles that are positioned toward the top of the painting. I also notice that all of the bunnies on the right are running in the same direction. However on the circle to the left of the piece, two of the three bunnies are running clockwise, while the other is running counter-clockwise into one of the others. I find this quite strange and interesting. The being that is front-and-center in this piece has a tiger head but a human body. It looks as if he is welcoming people to the arcade. There are two sets of three guns each on each side of him. They are standing upright against each other. There is a blue, red, and yellow rifle in each set. I notice that the set on the left of the painting has a red rifle on the left, blue toward the back, and yellow on the right. From this set to the one on the right, it seems that the colors rotated clockwise because the red is now toward the back, the blue on the right, and the yellow on the left. There is also another figure to the right of the tiger-headed man who seems to be wearing a party hat. This character has a red dot on each cheek and a red dot in the middle of three vertically-positioned dots on the hat. The other two dots on the hat are blue. This character seems to be wearing a uniform, while the tiger-headed character is shirtless. I think there are targets all around this arcade game. I guess players need to shoot, or try to shoot, the targets with the rifles on the left and right. There is also three ghost-looking things above the tiger head. They seem to be hanging from poles or something attached to their backs. It looks like one of these ghost creatures is waving. Another thing I found odd about this piece is that these three ghosts look very friendly but the bunnies mentioned earlier look very scary and threatening. This is strange to me because usually it is the opposite. Bunnies are usually portrayed as very friendly and cute creatures, while ghosts are usually very scary. This piece is very pleasing to the eye because it is so colorful and fun to look at for me beacuse I find something new in it each time I look at it.

Finished/Unfinished Works of Art by Jeremy B.

Finished/Unfinished Works of Art

A finished work of art looks like whatever the artist wants it to look like. Other people may look at a piece of artwork and think that is is not finished, However, it may, indeed, be finished, according to the artist. It all depends on the artist’s vision on what he/she tried to do with the piece.

A finished work of art is something that the artist is proud of and something that requires nothing else to be added to it. An unfinished work of art is something that require some finishing touches or some changes. It can be something an artist is still working on or not yet proud of.

Week 1 Reflection: Elliana G.


This week I learned how uptight I am. I have always known what I like so this week was the first time it struck me how badly I deal with others’ assistance or opinions. Because we focused so strongly on these elements in particular, through projects such as consequences and exquisite corpses, I had a very rough start. I don’t really enjoy sharing my art with others mid-­process because of the release of control that it requires, and I was tested by the collaborations and restrictions placed on us for the first few projects. As it turned out, however, I made a piece that I was relatively happy with. The assignment was to paint an abstract picture with no preconceived images of what we wanted to make. We had to paint with weird materials such as forks and string and just let our emotions take over. The third of the three paintings that I made surprised me because I actually liked the final product. Hopefully I will get better at loosening up as the weeks progress.


Week 1 Reflection: Paloma M.


Thoughout this week I did many new things. The drawing was fun although I wasn’t very good at it. The painting was really messy, but I enjoyed it. The hands on art was my favorite, such as the sculpture we made. its been a great experience working with other people, and it really opens my eyes. Although there have been things I’ve faced that I thought I couldn’t do, I was influenced to try and have fun. My favorite activity was the painting we did yesterday, because it taught me that not all art was thought of, but it came naturally. Therefore we don’t have to overthink our art, but just let it happen on its own. I learned many different new techniques in art that I didn’t know. I would have never imagined to find a picture in scribbles. I think I would only need to improve on communication and not to give up when I think I can’t accomplish something.

Week 1 Reflection: Jeremy B.

Jeremy Barnes
27 June, 2014


Week of 6/24 Reflection

I had fun making the exquisite corps pictures on Tuesday and finding out that my Spider-Man ended up becoming Spider-Mermaid. I also really enjoyed painting for the first time yesterday. I really liked the second piece that I painted. I found it intersting that you can paint randomly and actually get a good final product.

I also enjoyed my second time sculpting, which was also yesterday. The first time I sculpted, I made Venom from the Spider-Man comics. Yesterday, I made some cool bird feet for the exquisite corps sculptures. I think I’m actually pretty good at sculpting.

My favorite pieces of artwork here at the museum are all by Richard Yohnka They are four of the six he has here in the current gallery: Shell Game, Dodge’m, Scary-Go-Round, and Arcade Barker.

I kind of didn’t like doing the collage project. I did, however, have fun going outside to take pictures and writing about a memory(ies). I also didn’t really enjoy doing the experimental drawing that we did yesterday. The reason is because I didn’t really find anything in my scribbles un til the very end, and what I did find wasn’t really exciting.




Week 1 Reflection: Milan J

Milan Johnson


During this week’s art projects I enjoyed testing my art skills on a few things that I’ve never tried before…(exquisite corpse). I learned that there are ways to express yourself in ways that are unknown to you in the beginning, but that are realized in the end. An art prject that showed me this was “Free Thinking”, which is a process of finding pictures that you see in doodles and scribbles. Through these projects and making new friends, things I learned that art isn’t just made of mainstream ideas. They are instead made of ideas in general, be it small and spontaneous or ones that are over thought. I also learned that painting and not having control over the idea of what to paint can also be fun because in the end result you get art work that will even surprise you. Not to mention doing these things with other people who feel exactly as you do is just awesome.

Week 1 Reflection: Natalia S.

During my first week at the National Veterans Art Museum, I was really engaged in all the different works of art. I learned so much about collaborating with others through art and even though it was challenging and forced me to step out of my comfort zone, it was loads of fun. When the week first started, we began creating exquisite corpses where a large piece of paper was folded into three parts and then three different people would draw various body parts to form a unique corpse. At first I was worried that the people next in line to draw would ruin what I began, but in the end they all ended up really cool and better than what I had imagined! Continue reading “Week 1 Reflection: Natalia S.”

Week 1 Reflection: Erin A.

June 27, 2014
This week we made exquisite corpse drawings, sculptures, and picture collages. We also experimented with abstract art to let out our emotions without thinking. I felt that the exquisite corpse drawing was my strong suit because even though, we only had five minutes to do our part of the figure, I could insert details and use my favorite medium: markers.


This week was also the first time I tried sculpting. I enjoyed it because I could make the separate parts and then put them together so they were proportional. I did not like the abstract paintings because I had no control and I could not add details.

Artist Bio: Jeremy B.

Artist: Jeremy B.

Age: 16

School: Chicago Bulls College Prep

Interests in Art: Drawing, Coloring with colored pencils

Why I’m at NVAM: I am very interested in history and love art, so this place was perfect for me since it is a veterans art museum. The veteran part about it is related to the history of war, but the museum is actually all about art. I came here for an interview before I started working here, and I loved everything I saw.

Fun Fact: I am really into comic books and comic book characters. I also really love video games and movies.