We have better access than ever before to still photos and video from war zones. There is another tradition – that of the battlefield artist – still practiced. And one of the best is Matthew Cook. His reputation may extend further around the world than it does in the UK.

Thanks, Nikolay Kotev



  1. msbpodcast says:

    We have stills and movies, usually shot through a cell phone, which is fine, but its all uncontextualized.

    The artist produces an interpretation through the lens of his own experience.

    In some cases, it elevates lying into an art form, in other cases, it elevates the mundane and banal reality of war into the same art form.

    • Skeptic says:

      He probably works at least partly from digital images… small camera or a cell phone.

      • caranpaima says:

        Probably, but cool nonetheless. Capturing an appealing sight and getting the composition right is difficult enough. Even having the photo as a reference, not many can produce so nice a watercolor scene!

        • smart enough to read primary sources says:

          “skeptic” probably flunked crayola 101 – never saw a real artist at work.

          • Skeptic says:

            Well your probability fails. My wife and son are both excellent artists as talented as Cook (commissioned and gallery works), and I am a graphic designer with ‘adequate’ drawing skills.

            There is no shame in using a photo for reference. If you go to his sight there are many drawings with action in them, such as a car speeding by, drawn with a lot of detail including the 4 people inside. Don’t tell me he drew it in 2 seconds.

  2. LotsaLuck says:

    Funny. At first glance I thought it said ‘Afghan WatercOOlers’, not watercolOrs.

    Which just begs the question: What do Afghanis talk about whilst they’re standing around the watercooler?

  3. deowll says:

    Sad, The homes of Afghanistan contain no water colors…It is against the will of Allah to make graven images.

    • Dr Spearmint Fur says:

      The Muslim prohibition is against idolatry, not art. Sadly the Soviet invasion and regime did more to wipe out art and archeological sites in Afghanistan than at any other time in history.

  4. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Junior Art Critic says:

    Intentional Irony or just more foreign policy failure to expose the Afghans to “Water Coloring” as an art form?

    “Should I paint today, or live to consider the same question tomorrow?”

    Well?

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