This is an amazing and touching article in the Washington Post,
which I came by via one of the artists, Richard Johnson.
They are only translucent distorted shadows of the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen they once were. They are now addicts at the very edges of their addiction — singularly focused on the need to feed their habit, be it cocaine, meth, heroin, crack, or good old alcohol. Their drug-induced lives dull their histories of medication prescribed for diagnoses of bipolar, manic tendencies, depressive, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, antisocial, and attention deficit disorders.
A hundred miles southeast of Denver in a shallow Colorado river valley of lush man-made crop circles there is an old military base. It was once a prison, once a hospital, once an asylum but here now in a meander of the Arkansas River it has become a refuge.
They find them living under the bridges, or they find them close to death in hospitals, or they find them sleeping in dumpsters, in alleys, in doorways – the invisible dregs and the leftovers of good lives gone bad. They find them and they take the willing ones here.
For the rest of the story continue on to Once we were soldiers.
It will take your breath away. That is what artists can do.