Art is creative detour for career military officer

Buies Creek, N.C.- Studio Art major Justin Lax graduates in May and will receive his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Although he plans on making the military a career, art will play the important role of stress reliever and creative outlet for the soon-to-be field artillery officer. Lax’s work is currently on exhibit at Campbell University’s E.P. Sauls Gallery in the Taylor Bott Rogers Fine Arts Center.

“As a commissioned officer, I am required to serve eight years, but I’m planning on making the Army a career,” Lax said. “I wanted my major to be something I enjoy and I also wanted it to be an outlet to de-stress and convey my emotions.”

The son of a career military man from Athens, Texas, Lax will serve as a field artillery officer with the First Infantry Division from Ft. Knox, Ky.

“I think art is much more than visual. It is a means of communication. Monet, who was almost blind, painted the shapes he saw and created the Impressionistic movement,” he said.

Lax, whose exhibits include a series on American soda cans, lighting, skulls and military themed art, describes his own work as “impressionistic realism.”

“I have a hard time with art that has no realistic characteristics,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t think art should appear so realistic that it looks just like a photograph, otherwise what is the point?”

Before coming to Campbell, Lax had no idea what major he wanted to pursue, but he soon discovered that art allowed him to express himself and his interests through various traditional mediums.

“My artwork is an extension of my imagination,” he said. “Most of my work also has an underlying message. I like art that makes you think, that is like a puzzle.”

Lax’s senior exhibit will be on display in the E.P. Sauls Gallery through April 17. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.