The Connector
The Connector
Photo of David Howell by Le Le LeSeur, contributor.

The opportunity to travel the world is one of the major selling points for new military recruits. David Howell, third-year television production student and photography minor, served in the army for 21 years. As a result, his world travels has affected him as an artist, “Because of my missions, I saw many examples of art and architecture in various countries. I’ve seen the Egyptian pyramids and sphinxes up close and personal, and got a sense of awe being in the presence of history,” says Howell. He completed two combat tours in Iraq including Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served all over the United States, Germany, Italy, Bosnia and South Korea.

Similarly, Daryl Harris, second-year interior design student, traveled extensively during his nine years in the Navy. He said he found travelling throughout Europe inspiring, “I went to Florence and that was a life-changing experience for me. I traveled all over Europe and Italy. It really opened up my mind.”

Photo of Daryl Harris by Le Le LeSeur, contributor.

The military exposes individuals to world travel and culture, but is it a place for creative people? Kenneth Prater, a second-year photography student, dedicated 10 years to the army. He too served in Iraq and also as a military technician. When his tech job no longer fulfilled him he decided to pursue the arts upon leaving the military. He admits, “I was just tired of punching numbers.” He describes how the worlds of art and the military are very different, “Creativity is thinking outside of the box. The military is a box. There are jobs in the military that require people to be creative but most of them are not so.”

Photo of Kenneth Prater by Jordan Bailey.

At first glance, the military seems very disconnected from the creative process. However, Harris has found that the principles of discipline and order manifest themselves in his design aesthetic. He says, “I like order. I like things to be neat, well put-together and intentional. If I can be in an environment and feel like everything is well-thought and organized it makes me feel better.”

Serving in the military can influence the direction one takes with their own art. Howell saw the importance of art first-hand among himself and the other soldiers. He recalls, “I saw many fine examples of soldiers’ personal artwork done to relieve the stress of being in combat. Seeing that work encouraged me to ensure that my work was the best when I did news stories or work on my radio show.”

Photo of David Howell by Le Le LeSeur, contributor.


The military offers discipline, camaraderie and insights into yourself and understanding of the world. Travel proves to be a major part of the military experience especially for students of art. Much like students Howell and Harris, Prater’s global experiences shaped his photographic eye. He says, “Having the opportunity to see so many places in the Pacific, Japan, South Korea, and China had the biggest influence on my art. I had exposure to different cultures outside of the United States.”

To check out works by these students please visit the following websites:

David Howell, Defense Video and Image Distribution System portfolio


Kenneth Prater, photo blog


Daryl Harris, digital portfolio