Battles joined the Corps in 1986. He served as a computer operator, combat correspondent and chaplain’s assistant. He had to reenlist for active duty as a combat artist.
|“||... the Marine Corps' philosophy, and I think all good art, is that if you go and you see and you paint what you feel and you have seen and experienced, it's much more authentic. And the philosophy of the Marine Corps and the combat art program is that it's much stronger expression if you go to a situation and you see it and you experience it. — Sgt. Kristopher Battles||”|
The United States Marine Corps supported more than 70 war artists in World War II; and the number of combat artists has declined since the end of the Vietnam War. In July 2010, the Corps supports only one last combat artist. Unless something happens, Sergeant Battles will become notable as the last of his kind.
Since World War I, a long line of American servicemen-artists have produced artwork based on their experiences in combat. The USMC artists have documented the life of Marines in the field. Like his predecessors, Sgt. Battles' artwork develops during a process of "balancing a tactical eye as a Marine" with the "artist's visual eye" and also noticing the way the light is bouncing off the body armor. Battles' deployment to Iraq gave him a sharper eye for what can be portrayed in a combat zone.
"Go to war, do art" is the motto of a Marine combat artist. The mission is to capture images of war on canvases and sketchpads.
- 2010: United States Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, Merit Award, First Place Combat Art.
- Kino, Carol. "With Sketchpads and Guns, Semper Fi"; "Marine Art," New York Times. July 13, 2010.
- Battles bio
- Nasso, Samuel and Alicia R. Giron. "Combat artist tells Corps’ story through artwork," Community Relations, U.S. Marine Corps. June 5, 2010.
- National Public Radio (NPR), "The Art of War," On the Media (WNYC, New York). April 20, 2007.
- United States Army Center of Military History (CMH), Army Art Program History; Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC), Navy Combat Art Program Archived June 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Combat Camera announces Merit Award Winners," USMCCA Online (United States Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association). June 1, 1010.
- Sanborn, James K. "Heroics illustrated, comic-book style," Marine Corps Times. March 24, 2010.