DVIDS – News – American soldier exhibits his art in Poland

POZNAN, Poland — Many soldiers have creative outlets. Many soldiers create paintings. Few soldiers have their art exhibited in a foreign country. For this non-commissioned officer, this is exactly what happened.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Washington DC native Jonathan Over, assigned to the US Army Reserve’s 47th Military History Detachment, presented an art exhibit in Poznan, Poland, showing a part of himself and his life for the everyone can see it.
Over joined the military in 2006 as an operator and maintainer of satellite communications systems. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Soldiers discovered he could draw and request tattoo designs during his time there. Upon his return, he sought psychological help for sleep disorders. The psychologist asked if he had had any creative outlets when he was younger.
During his stay in the United States, he said to himself: “Why not do this full time? Eventually he moved to Los Angeles and got an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop.
“I loved my job,” he said. “I was expressing my creative outlet.”
In Los Angeles he was accepted to the University of Southern California for his oil paintings, using classical artists as an influence. He began to fall in love with 80s videographers and impressionist artists, influencing his current style.
In 2014, he joined the army reserve, becoming a public affairs broadcast specialist. With his expertise in digital art, he designed a digital press room for the use of his unit. He won the 2020 Brumfield Mass Communication Competition for Digital Art for this product.
Later, Over was offered a deployment to Poland with a unit of military historians under V Corps as an expansion mission. In this country, he found the acceptance and hospitality of its people.
On the night of May 7, 2022, old acquaintances and new friends attended the LA Series exhibition, a collection of paintings he made, marking the 10th anniversary of his return from Afghanistan.
During his time in the military, Over met Joshua, who was deployed with him to Afghanistan in 2009. They still kept in touch after the deployment, but almost 12 years later he attended the exhibition of art on the other side of the world.
“I think there’s something really admirable about bringing your art to our country,” Joshua said. “To be able to give a part of himself to a whole other country, I think is an amazing thing.”
The new friends he made during his stay in Poland were also present. Natasha Chuda, who works with contracting companies in Poznan, Poland, showed her support for Over.
“He’s a great guy, very honest, very nice,” Chuda said. “His art reminds me of my time in London.”
While in Poland, Over met Natalie O’Connor and her husband, owners of a local restaurant in the heart of Poznan, where the art exhibit was being shown. Both regularly organize art exhibitions in the bar. Over approached the couple, showed them his work, and arranged to show off this collection.
“We love to support artists,” O’Connor said. “We are extremely happy and honored to have his paintings here.”
Over’s paintings have recurring themes of movement and mirror surfaces, using a dynamic way to depict the world around him.
“These paintings have themes of reflection, like a glass window or puddles on the side of the street,” he said. “There are a lot of textures in my paintings, I use many tools to paint, from the art brush to the plastic knives I get from CASM.”
“My goal is to make original art affordable for ordinary people,” Over said. “What I do is I find prints in thrift stores, then I reuse them, put my paints on them.”
He describes his art as expressing his emotions on the canvas and then in the world. When he came to Poland, he would never have thought that he would exhibit his art on the other side of the world.
“I tried to bring a piece of LA here with me and connect both sides of the world,” he said. “It’s like planting a tree, you plant the seed, but you never know how it’s going to turn out.”

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