Renowned artist and children’s-book creator Bryan shares his journey through World War II.
Best known for his brightly colored paintings of flowers and joyful scenes, here Bryan shares a part of his life that was less bright. Bryan was in his third year of art school when he was recruited to join the U.S. Army in 1943. Training for service in an all-black battalion, being deployed to Europe to fight with the Allied Forces on D-Day, and spending months trying to get his men back home—these experiences did not stop Bryan from pursuing his development as an artist. He was always drawing and sketching, and his fellow soldiers and even some of his superiors encouraged him to do so. His years in the Army are effectively detailed in a multimedia format that has the intimate feel of a scrapbook being shared by the author. The main text is a retrospective narration surrounded by extensive primary documents: old photographs and documents, handwritten letters (whose contents are also set in a small blue type for easier reading), paintings, and sketches, both standing alone and overlaid on top of photographs. So many unique yet universal aspects of the human experience are touched upon in this lovingly shared memoir: the passion that kept an artist going through the most difficult times, the contradictions of war against Nazism with segregation at home and within the U.S. Army.
Watching Bryan generously transform the bittersweet into beauty is watching the meaning of art. (note, sources, index) (Memoir. 10-adult)