GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - His ArtPrize entry is a series of paintings that are only two-foot by two-foot. But, the message behind them is huge.
David Leverett's piece is entitled, "America's Great Automobiles: Lost to the elements." It depicts old, forgotten autos in fields and salvage yards across the country.
It's also the work of a man who's been suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) since his days in the United States Navy.
He says focusing on art has literally kept him alive.
"This piece shows my respect for and my love for cars, and it also shows my respect and love of veterans," said Leverett, who is from Wisconsin and competing in ArtPrize Eight. "My wife and I are both veterans and we want to do everything we can to help fellow veterans, and people with disabilities, cope.
"Art can help do that."
Leverett says he's been an artist since he was a child, but really dove into it hardcore after his time in the Navy and Operation Desert Storm. His war experiences have caused him to suffer from anxiety attacks and brutal flashbacks, but art has helped him deal with it.
"Most people don't know that 22 veterans commit suicide each day because nobody else is there, or because they didn't get the help that they needed," said Leverett. "I am trying to do all I can to cut that number down by offering my fellow veterans a chance to learn the art techniques that I possess, so they can focus on something other than what they experienced."
Leverett's ArtPrize entry is a series of paintings of cars, and car parts, he's found in various salvage yards around the country.
"When most people think of car collectors, they think of shiny, new cars," added Leverett. "The cars I look for are treasures from the past, forgotten in fields or on farms.
"I take pictures of the cars, and sometimes I even buy some of the parts and incorporate them into the artwork."
David Leverett's ArtPrize entry is on display at "Grand Rapids Garage Bar & Grill", which is located at 819 Ottawa Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.
he invites everybody to come see his work, and if you're a veteran in need of help, Leverett says he will offer you free art lessons and teach you some of his techniques, and how to use art to cope.
(© 2016 WZZM)