By Jess Winans
After losing several friends while serving in Afghanistan, former U.S. Marine and current Adelphi University student Julian McBride turned to art to help deal with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
McBride’s oil paintings were inspired by scenes he witnessed on the frontlines. His works were displayed as part of an exhibit called “The Horrors of War” at Adelphi last fall and following the positive response he received, he started sharing his work through public talks featuring PowerPoint slides of his paintings, including one upcoming on April 19 at Lawrence Middle School.
“I lost six of my friends during my time overseas,” said the 25-year-old Freeport resident. “It hit me from there—nothing is guaranteed. One day I was hanging with my friends playing golf and the next they were killed by explosive devices.”
McBride had never painted until he returned from his deployment. After enrolling in Adelphi in 2013 to study criminal justice, forensics and anthropology, he took a technical drawing in archaeology course, where he learned how to illustrate corpses and decomposed bodies.
With his newly acquired art skills, he began painting what was going on inside his head. McBride said he is haunted by his combat experience. But painting helps him cope with his trauma better than any other form of therapy, he discovered.
McBride isn’t the only one who benefits. His professors say his work has helped teach the community about the impact of the war.
“He’s an exceptional young man who strives to be the most genuine and thoughtful person he can be,” said Stephanie Lake, director of Adelphi’s criminal justice program. “I have no doubt he will end up being incredibly successful in whatever he does.”