Michael D. Fay

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Michael Fay
File:Michael Fay USMC war artist.jpg
Born Allentown, Pennsylvania
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1975-1978
Rank USMC CWO2.svg Chief Warrant Officer-2[1]

Michael D. Fay is a former United States Marine Corps combat artist. Before his retirement from the Corps,[1] he was a war artist serving in Iraq.[3][4][5] He was deployed as an artist-correspondent embedded with US troops in Afghanistan.[3][4][6][7] He resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia.[5][8]

Military career

Fay enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1975 and was discharged in 1978 as an 81 mm mortarman (MOS 0341). In 1978, he returned to Pennsylvania State University and graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education.[9] In 1983, re-enlisted into the Marines and served as an avionics technician (MOS 6322) working on CH-46s, VH-3Ds, CH-53Es and UH/AH-1s in the Presidential Helicopter Squadron (HMX-1) and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365) until 1993.[9] Fay served a tour on recruiting duty (MOS 8411) at Recruiting Station Baltimore as a recruiter of the year for 1989 and 1990. He left active duty at the end of September 1993.[citation needed]

Fay returned to service in the Marine Corps Reserve in January 2000. He was assigned as an official combat artist with the National Museum of the Marine Corps Combat Art Collection.[5] He is now retired from the Marine Corps.[1][6]

War artist

The United States Marine Corps supports three combat artists[note 1] to produce fine art based on their experiences of combat and the life of Marines on the battlefield.[10] The orders are "Go to war. Do art."[11] The artists are unfettered in their choice of subject.[1][12] Fay's artwork is in the Marine Corps Combat Art collection,[5] the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the collection of the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.[13][14]

Fay has also had solo exhibitions at the Farnsworth Museum, where he was the target of a protest group.[15] His artwork has been published in Leatherneck Magazine—the official magazine of the Marine Corps Association—and the New York Times. The Guardian called his work "exceptionally moving and thought-provoking", and said, "Over the past decade, Fay has seen action as a war artist with US troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but his latest journey was to a military veterans' hospital in Richmond, Virginia. In the resulting New York Times blogs, he relays his meetings with three young men severely wounded in Afghanistan. His account of their injuries and rehabilitation is gripping, but what really deepens the reporting are his drawings, reproduced alongside the articles."[16]

Fay has also recorded wounded veterans recovering from their injuries.[17] As part of this work he founded the Joe Bonham Project to document the experiences of the wounded.[3][18][19] After retirement, Fay campaigned for enhanced recognition and improved working opportunities for war artists.[20] Fay also uses sculpture.[21] He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Illustration; his thesis was called The Boy Who Drew Soldiers.[22]

See also


  1. Sources differ on the numbers. in recent years (2013) the number of combat artists has dwindled to one. This figure is for the USMC. Other fighting units deploy their own artists


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pierce, Christy Crytzer (2012). "Seeing is Believing". NEA Arts Magazine, Issue 2012, no 2. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 29 November 2013. One such artist is Michael D. Fay, a painter, illustrator, and retired chief warrant officer for the Marine Corps.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Atkinson, Peter (July 2007). "The Art of War". pp. 46–48. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "'Reportager' : Members : Mike Fay : Research Group and Programme at the School of Creative Arts, University of the West of England". University of the West of England. Retrieved 29 November 2013. Michael D. Fay and was the official combat artist for the United States Marine Corps from 2000-2010. In this capacity he completed four combat tours as a war artist, two each in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. In 2010 Mike retired and, among other things, founded The Joe Bonham Project. The JBP is a reportage art program documenting the faces and experiences of profoundly battle wounded soldiers and Marines.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Reid, Chip (3 May 2012). "Sketching veterans recovering from war, so their stories aren't lost - CBS News". CBS News. Retrieved 28 November 2013. For nearly 100 years, since World War I, the U.S. military has used combat artists to create a visual record of America's wars. Among those artists in Iraq and Afghanistan was a Marine named Michael Fay.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Soza, Samuel A. "Profile Article - Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael D. Fay". Defend America. US Department of Defense. Retrieved 29 November 2013. Marine Staff Sgt. Michael D. Fay, 49, a reservist from Fredricksburg, Va., can be best described as one of a kind. Classified as a combat illustrator, he is the only one in the Marine Corps Reserves with his occupation. Fay is serving in Iraq, and carrying on the long linage of modern combat illustrators, beginning with artist Winslow Homer, who captured the intensity of the Civil War on canvas.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fay, Michael D (June 6, 2010). "Drawing Fire: Into Ubaydi". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2013. In 2005, then Chief Warrant Officer Michael D. Fay traveled to Iraq in his capacity as official Marine Corps artist. There he fought with Marines engaged in Operation Steel Curtain against insurgents along the Euphrates River, and documented the events in sketches, photographs and audio recordings.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. North, Andrew (25 June 2011). "BBC News - War artist draws US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan". BBC Online. Retrieved 28 November 2013. To his left flank, there is a line of trees. He is in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan. [...] This is only a painting by American war artist Michael Fay. But it could sum up the fears of many in the US military that President Barack Obama is pulling out his troops too quickly from Afghanistan, sacrificing any gains they have made on the battlefield.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Chinn, Lisa (5 December 2001). "Marines capture war in art". Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved 29 November 2013. Fay, a Fredericksburg resident, is a member of the field history reserve unit, which is part of the Marine Corps Historical Center in Washington.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Chinn, Lisa (7 April 2002). "Watercolor WARRIOR". Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved 29 November 2013. Fay, 48, has a bachelor's degree in art education from Penn State. He worked on helicopters during 13 years of active duty, including earlier tours in Somalia and Desert Storm.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "BBC NEWS - In Pictures: US war artist". BBC Online. 14 April 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2013. Michael Fay is an official US Marine war artist, one of only three in the service. His mission - "Go do art" - has taken him to Iraq and Afghanistan.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Person of the Week: Combat Artists". ABC News. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2013. They are on active duty and are fully armed and deployed in the roughest combat zones of their day. "And we are given one order when we go forward, and that is, 'Go to war, do art,'" said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Fay.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Kendall, Kris (August 2007). "War Paint" (PDF). pp. 58–62. Retrieved 29 November 2013. The Marine Corps gives the combat artists all the art supplies they need and allows them to sketch anything they see. “It’s like having a very good patron.”<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Nagy, Kimberley; Stocke, Joy. "ART - INTERVIEW - Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay - The Human Face of War". Wild River Review. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Mitchner, Stuart (5 September 2007). "Art and War: Behind The Thousand Mile Stare". Town Topics - Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Lydon, Christopher (20 September 2005). "Combat Art". Radio Open Source. Retrieved 29 November 2013. When Sgt. Michael Fay arrived at his first one-man show at the Farnsworth Museum, he found peace protesters outside the museum with flyers with his name all over them, saying his art glorified war.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Jones, Jonathan (21 March 2011). "Michael Fay's sketches of war capture more than just scarred flesh". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Pelley, Scott. "The sketches of a war artist - Pictures - CBS News". CBS News. pp. 1–10. Retrieved 28 November 2013. Mike Fay visits veteran recovering from war wounds and sketches them "to get their stories into the culture.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Kino, Carol (25 May 2012). "Portraits of Wat". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Gammage, Jeff. "Drexel University's Joe Bonham project highlights human cost of war". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Kino, Carol (14 July 2010). "With Sketchpads and Guns, Semper Fi". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Moyer, Laura (9 March 2008). "Military artists capture realities of the war zone". Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Fay, Michael D. (2012). Naturalist to Imagist: The Boy who Drew Soldiers. University of Hartford. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links