Military art, humor, and a bit about some 4-legged friends (or ‘furry missiles’ depending on who you ask). Like some people, some dogs are grunts. Mad Duo
Some dogs are grunts. That’s an assertion Canadian artist (and former grunt of the toque-wearing variety) Scott Waters has made a couple of times, and I reckon he’s prob’ly right. I say, artist, although that’s a pretty anemic word. I’ve always admired artists. I’ve been a huge fan of both Frank Frazetta and Frederic Remington since I can remember, huge, and as I got older I grew into other artists like Dick Kramer and Alex Ross. More recently I’ve become an admirer of David Andro and Marc Lee.
I’ve always wished I had some form of artistic talent like those guys, while more than one artist has told me he wished he could write (which made me think, me too!).
You’re going to see why I like Scott Waters’ work as you read through this — all these images are his.
Why am I telling you all this, you ask?
Well, because 1) I’ve never been accused of being laconic and 2) my admiration for military-related art led me to discover the work of the aforementioned Scott Waters…who is, as you may now have surmised, supposed to be the focus of this article.
Scott served in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, albeit over two decades ago. He’s based in Toronto, hangs out at some place called Capital Espresso and appears to ride his bicycle constantly. He describes himself as a sucker for nihilism and a uniform and is a huge fan of Michael Mann’s Heat. He still gets in occasional fistfights and apparently drinks a tequila-and-Tabasco mix called a “Prairie Fire.” He’s also an EMT who recently completed a Remote EMT course, and is currently looking to work humanitarian aid contracts as a medic. Damn, you guys should like him already.
Now we know who we’re dealing with. And it’ll be interesting to see what sort of reception I get to a somewhat self-indulgent biopic (on my part) about a superb Canadian artist (on his part).
There’s no guarantee it will be a good one. Sometimes we write serious articles of genuine socio-political significance we’re certain will spark constructive dialogue and they go nowhere. I like channeling Cervantes or Joseph Heller for instance, but such pieces are often met with barely articulate commentary from headline-focused people who’ve obviously been poisoned by the Windex they lick off the glass. Thankfully the B-B-C readership often polices its own, which makes writing here more of a pleasure than in some places — though we definitely have our share of fuckwits too.
At least I hope they’re fuckwits. The alternative is that I’m really just a terrible writer, and that’s too horrible to contemplate.
I wonder if artists have trouble with trolls.
But I digress. This article is about a veteran, and it has guns and dogs and lots of pretty pictures. Here’s hoping for success (fingers crossed).
Though it’s been over 20 years since his infantry days, his recent work in the Canadian Forces Artist Program makes it clear that experience is still with him…reinforced, no doubt, by visits overseas. I enjoy reading what he has to say in social media posts as much as the art itself. For instance, when commenting on a ballpoint drawing of a dead bird done on moleskine, he said,
“Found this little fucker by the beer store near Dundas and Oss. As is always the case, the pointlessness of existence is confirmed. Sometimes I wish I had the constitution to be a hedonist.”
I wish I’d been writing a fictional character and used that line. I wish it had been me that came up with that while writing the inner thoughts of a dystopian gunfighter lookin’ over the body of the dead bandit. Or better yet a mutant armadillo.
Everybody likes reading about dystopian gunfighters and mutant armadillos.
“Principally, I am interested in depicting the banality and fraternity in a mechanized infantry unit and so that is what we see at the top. When all is said, done and painted, what I am hoping to acheive [sic] is an emphasis of both the similarity to and gap between civilian and military culture; the emphasis on communal responsibility within military culture is, in a ideal situation, the best that we aspire to as humans. While there is the unmodifiable fact that the job is to kill people, infantry life concurrently creates an intense loyalty which is partially borne out of a need to emphasize difference between them and us.”
If you’re interested, here are a few shots of the Workers of the Wasteland Colouring Book, which he is currently working on in a desultory fashion while not busy with more serious tasks. I will be buying one when it’s published.
Read more about Scott Waters here. You can see more of his war art here or get in his head a little bit here on Ink Noir. Follow him on Instagram, @mr_scott_waters. His website is online here and he maintains a Tumblr page right here.
That’s it for now. Go forth and conquer.
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