Meet our amazing artists!
Erin was born into a very talented and creative family. Her artistic skills showed up at an early age and she’s been developing them ever since. She studied art and interior design at the Art Institute of Phoenix and finished her degree in psychology at Ottawa University pursuing Art Therapy. “Once I began my training at NAVSCOLEOD my artistic style went a new direction and became my own form of therapy. My husband, Stephen, who is also an EOD Tech, was seriously injured after returning from Iraq in a diving accident. Art and our EOD family were what kept me sane during those hard times. Art of all kinds has been the only way I can honor and show my gratitude towards both my biological family and this wonderful family of hardcore misfits known as the EOD community.” Be sure to check out Erin’s brand new Etsy page at https://www.etsy.com/shop/BuffaloGalsCo to see more of her amazing work!
Shelby is a graphic artist originally from Colorado. Having an aptitude for drawing at a young age she began private oil painting lessons at twelve and created art all through high school. Right after high school she enrolled at the Art Institute of Colorado for Media Arts and Animation. During this time she got married and moved to Missouri, where her husband became a part of the EOD family. There she shifted her studies to illustration and graphic design and received her BFA from the University of Central Missouri. After graduation she began her own business as a freelance graphic artist. Shelby now enjoys the sunshine in Florida where she continues her business with her three dogs and cat. You can see more of her work at her website: shelbyudesigns.com
Kenneth L. Mengel
Kenny is a Retired USMC Master Sergeant who regularly deploys to Afghanistan for his current employer. During his down time, he enjoys creating artwork with ordnance as his medium, especially metal. “I originally produced these pieces for myself, it was basically a way to unwind and redirect my focus while not deployed.” This eventually led to building plaques and shadowboxes for friends or donating them to charity auctions. A lot of time is put into each piece; harvesting the fragments, re-surfacing and bringing out the color in the metal, the layout on the wood, then sealing everything down for a lasting presentation. “Over the years, I have progressed my techniques with my art, always improving and developing my style. I enjoy the diversification, all of it is unique.”
Becca Lynn Jones
Becca, “Becca Bear Designs”, is an aspiring artist who hopes to go into the animation business with Disney or Pixar when she completes her college education at California Institute of Art in animation and design. “I’m not a huge fan of school, but I am a very hard worker for the goals in my life! I love to give to others, and I do what I can to help people.” Becca has always been a part of the EOD community through her father, Neil. “They have become another family to me, and I’m honored to be able to create art for the EOD community to share.”
Kate is an EOD spouse and the proud owner of Tattered Flag Designs, a refreshing and original custom art business, showcasing our American Pride. Inspired by her EOD husband, she loves to create art which captures their mutual patriotism and devotion to those who serve. Working in various mediums but primarily with wood, canvas and glass, she creates pieces that are unique and significant to those serving in the military. “Some of my favorite pieces to create are for our EOD family.” You can learn more about Tattered Flag Designs and see more of her creations at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tattered-Flag-Designs/122684081171010
Robert “Bo” Wester
Bo discovered his passion for art at the early age of 8 years old. His artwork includes paintings, sculptures, screen-prints, drawing, mixed-media, and photography. One of his EOD related pieces has even been featured in the February 2015 edition of National Geographic Magazine. He created the piece while undergoing Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), a holistic medical center focused on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Bo enlisted in the Air Force in 2005, but in 2014, his military career was cut unexpectedly short due to complex injuries from IEDs. Taking full advantage of retirement, Bo has taken the time to reset and refocus on the road ahead.
Will I continue to make art? Sure! It’s not something that can be forced, though. Sometimes, I get an idea in my head, and I just have to get it out. That’s when you know it’s good.
In a world of digital art and virtual images, Mike practices his profession with pencil and paper and creates vibrant drawings in the traditional way. Originally from the land locked Mid West, Mike joined the Navy and since then, has traveled and lived around the world including Germany, Italy, Japan and even Texas. Throughout it all, he found that the one constant in his life was his need to draw. He is entirely self taught. Using a keen eye, he produces images with an uncanny optical clarity, that often are mistaken for photographs. Because of this, he tends to now leave a small corner of his new works unfinished, to reinforce the handmade nature of the artwork.
Living now in Salem, he is attempting to use his drawing skills to capture the spirit of this ancient and legend haunted town. Check out his FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/miketcherry.artist/
Jerrika is studying Art Direction at The Creative Circus, an advertising school in Atlanta Georgia. She grew up in Melbourne, Florida and received her Bachelors in Advertising at Florida State University. Her husband is an airman currently going through school to become an EOD tech but she was first introduced to the EOD community through her father-in-law. Jerrika loves being part of the EOD family and wants to contribute any way she can!
Anthony joined the Marine Corps in 2001 from his childhood town of Orange Park, Florida. After his first enlistment, he decided to return home as a civilian, only to ultimately come back to the military after being recalled a few times. In 2008, he attended Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Upon coming home from a deployment in 2010 he met the love of his life Kelli and they were married in 2011.
After several more years and a total of six combat deployments, he began a new path of therapy and treatment for war wounds ranging from PTSD to severe depression. He turned to art in 2015 and has made this his new passion. Currently he’s been working on paintings, digital sketches and now his first children’s book! “I am very passionate about military members getting the help they need. Remember, reach out to those who may need a phone call or text. You could be saving a life.”
Anthony is currently stationed at NAVSCOLEOD and is open to creating whatever sketch, digital draft, painting or wood burning project you may be thinking of. He started his art as therapy and now it has become a passion. “Each piece I create has a special meaning to me and I look forward to creating whatever you can think up.” Be sure to check out Anthony’s website at http://www.walrus2336.com/
Dr. Don Stewart
With degrees in biology and medicine, and an internship at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Don Stewart discharged himself from the hospital just in time to avoid a lucrative surgical career. For the last three decades, he has turned from drawing blood to drawing pictures, creating a signature style of visual humor from the tip of an ordinary ballpoint pen.
At the insistence of a retired Marine colonel, Don applied his academic training to the study of military history, creating a series of drawings to honor the professionalism and sacrifice of those who serve. In the process, his work has raised awareness and funds for wounded warfighters and their families.
Dr. Stewart currently makes his living hammering words and pictures together at the DS Art Studio in Birmingham, Alabama. His drawings can be seen online at www.DSArt.com.