Lad Decker

Conflict of Interest

#WarStudies #Conflict #MilitaryHistory

These paintings were developed over the last two years. They come from a larger body of work that started in response to the Iraq War in 2003. The Vietnam War marked my childhood. Since then, I’ve always been interested in war photography and in understanding the causes of war and social conflict. 

This work is a visual response to war and conflict and an attempt to capture the experience of living in a time of war. The elements of war and the machines of war are real and symbolic. This online-only pop-up installation is divided into sections based on the different elements of conflict such as helicopters, tanks and fields. 

I am not advocating war. I don’t have any easy answers for how to prevent war. I am painting to understand and to reflect in an attempt to create resilience. I want more awareness and more dialogue. I want to think about the future. 

- Lad Decker, July 2017


Watch Looking at War and Conflict In-studio interview



The helicopter symbolizes the Vietnam War.

It symbolizes conflict.

It symbolizes destruction.

The long rotor blades stretch out like arms.

It symbolizes man.

Just like man’s duality, helicopters exist in two opposing roles.

They attack and threaten.

They rescue and provide refuge.



As far as the eye can see, the horizontal land anchors the sky.

After night falls, the sky is dark and light emanates from the destruction.



Helicopters wait on the ground.

Each air ship lifts up one after another.

The tall grass waves in the down draft.