SNOHOMISH — It’s more than a mural.
The bright painting on the side of the brick Earl Winehart Post of the American Legion is a memorial.
It depicts six wars from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan, with a tribute to each branch of the military in an expansive turquoise sky. Snohomish’s fallen war heroes are listed by name, and some shown by face.
“It is the most emotional mural I’ve ever done,” said Monroe artist David Hose. “I put my heart into it. All those lives that have been given.”
Hose, 70, has done about 25 public murals of historical scenes, landscapes and mascots around Snohomish County in the past dozen years, but nothing like this.
It is dedicated to all veterans: past, present and future. Hose likes it that people often pose by the 35-by-65-foot mural for photos.
It drew lots of attention during the year it took him to complete in 2013, using 30 gallons of paint. Passersby on busy First Street often stopped to reminisce with Hose, who’d make time to come down from the cherry picker platform to talk.
“Emotion came when I would meet veterans,” said Hose, who did not serve in the military due to foot problems.
“When working on the Korean War picture, one elder veteran said he was still getting counseled for things 60-plus years later. He was obviously suffering to this very day. I started to weep afterwards.”
The legion’s soldier namesake is portrayed in the mural.
“He’s the one on the left end in the first World War,” Hose said. “His great-great niece came to me while I was doing it and introduced herself and told me two weeks after he got to France he was killed. So I made his face a blend of, ‘Yes, I’ll do it for my nation’ and terrified at what he was facing for such a young guy.”
For Hose, the commissioned mural went beyond researching archives and taping up sketches for guidance.
He contacted the family of Marine Corps Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, 22, who died on Memorial Day of 2005 from small-arms fire during combat operations near Ramadi. Starr, a 2001 graduate of Snohomish High School, was days away from finishing his third tour in Iraq and had already enrolled in classes at Everett Community College.
“I met with his father to get the photo and final OK,” Hose said. “I went to his grave before I even started the portrait, and sat there for 45 minutes. I wanted to feel something about him. I couldn’t do this lightly.”
About the artist: Hose, a west Seattle native, spent a year in art school in San Francisco and in 1967 became a “Moonie,” a member of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. He married his wife, Takeko, in a mass ceremony in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea. The couple stayed active with the church while raising a family until returning to Washington in the early 1990s.
In 1993, Hose did a beach scene of women in bikinis on painted tiles in a Las Vegas casino. In recent years, much of his art has been locally themed.
Look for him soon doing a mural about Evergreen Speedway on the south wall of the NAPA Auto Parts store in Monroe. He’s the gray-haired guy in a straw hat, clad in paint splattered clothes and listening to a paint speckled radio.
— Andrea Brown (@reporterbrown) May 19, 2015