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Stencel Featured in American Artists Magazine

The following article will appear in the May issue of The American Artists Magazine. This is a national publication with a circulation of over 160,000. Each month the magazine profiles a prominent artist in his/her field and delves into their activities. We were granted permission to share it with you before it went to press.


Paintings Presented To Air Force
During 60th Anniversary Art Exhibit

Stewart Wavell-Smith, Robert Powers (OSI), Tony Stencel
2006 USAF Art Program Turnover Bolling Air Force Base
with Stencel's painting "OSI Bucket Brigade- Operation Enduring Freedom"

The Air Force's top leader opened up the 60th Anniversary Art Exhibit at the Pentagon on Oct. 19 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"We have a wonderful heritage," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne to the crowd of more than 60 people, to include Air Force Art Program artists, who were standing between corridors five and six on the Pentagon's first floor. "The celebration of our Airmen's work is captured here in the celebration of great artistry."

Along the halls of the corridors hung the works of several artists from over the years. Watercolors depicted aircraft in flight and Airmen working alongside each other. Outside of the corridors, in the Pentagon's courtyard, sat two vehicles covered with custom painting.

The Air Force Art Program began in 1950 when the U.S. Army transferred about 800 works of art documenting the early Army Air Corps to the Air Force. Around the same time, General Curtis LeMay began a "portrait" program.

Stencel presented 4 paintings to the Secretary of The Air Force, including one from his trip to OEF/Bagram with the Office of Special Investigation (OSI). He has been a member of thithe Air Force Art Program for 4 years, and has donated 6 paintings to date. While on these missions he was deployed in a "combat" zone. Artists in this program "donate" their art to the USAF.

The 4 images shown below are the pieces Stencel donated this year reflecting the official missions he was sent on, from the last overseas deployment of Milwaukee's 440th ALW, Hurricane Katrina, Operation Enduring Freedom/OSI, and his tribute to the USAF's 60th Anniversary.


Prints of "Hats Off To The Air Force" are planned for 2007. Check back here for announcements regarding its availability and pricing.



Tony Stencel's work, "Hats Off to Naval Aviation", was given the honor of receiving a Third Place award in the nationally recognized National Museum of Aviation Juried Art Exhibition 2006 Show.

In 2004 Stencel received a Merit Award in the same show and set his sights on
improving his techniques and developing his understanding of the tradition of Naval Aviation in order to attain a higher award.

Stencel says, "I'm pleased to be awarded this prize, and will continue my pursuit of excellence in the art of Naval Aviation.  I hope I did justice to to Naval Aviation and all of it's members who have so proudly served in defense of this great Nation."

Please visit the museum's website at

for information.  Their site does not yet show the newest award, but is a link to the museum itself.  Please support this great museum and the wonderful art contest that they sponsor.

Prints of this award-winning work are available here

Back From Afghanistan

Tony has just concluded a 2 week tour in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to document the mission of the United States Air Force's Office Of Special Investigations (visit their website here) in Afghanistan, and was attached to a unit that combats terrorism through the use of counter-intelligence and special operations.

Stencel was privileged to travel with these "quiet warriors" on a mission that resulted in the destruction of 2 former Soviet weapons caches.

These weapons have been used to to construct IED (improvised explosive devices), so any reclamation of these pieces of ordinance is one less weapon in the enemies hands.

Stencel believes that the operations of the OSI are an integral part of the War On Terrorism, and his future art, which will become part of the USAF Permanent Art Collection in 2006, will reflect the sacrifice and devotion these "silent warriors" are contributing to the security of our country.

Stencel experienced first hand, what the OEF combatant is going through, and can now call himself an official "combat illustrator".

The following photographs are just a few images of the over 400+ Stencel took on this assignment.


Air Force artist captures Hurricane Katrina’s devastation

Artwork to be donated to the USAF in 2006

By LISA M. REED - GM Today Staff

September 26, 2005

OCONOMOWOC - Air Force artist Tony Stencel said the devastation of Hurricane Katrina is like a tornado multiplied by 1 million.

"The sights and the smells I will never forget," he said. "What I saw was indescribable. Everything was decimated from the damage."

The Oconomowoc artist was chosen by the U.S. Air Force to document the humanitarian and relief efforts of the Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., and the surrounding areas.

He was in the area Sept. 14 through Sept. 17, working 12-hour days.

"From the airport, I was just beginning to realize the vast devastation. Articles of clothing were on wire fences, and what used to be houses were slabs, and driveways were covered with sand," said Stencel, who took about 300 photographs of the destruction.

The helicopter from which he was taking photographs was so close to standing water that water was shooting up at it. Stencel could see alligators and blowflies, which signaled dead bodies nearby.

"It was bizarre that old stately mansions were wiped out and the historical loss that occurred. Every 13th home or so was untouched," he said. "People lost birth certificates, wedding licenses, photos, uniforms, all possessions."

The danger that people face now is gasoline and raw sewage in the water of the streets.

"I had to wear rubber gloves and don’t dare touch anything," said Stencel, who is still trying to absorb what he saw in Biloxi.

All types of government and law enforcement agencies are helping with the relief efforts. Funeral services and grief counseling are set up at a Salvation Army tent. Military personnel are at street corners and at checkpoints. On base, there was a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The base, home to the 81st Training Wing, sustained $900 million in damage, and 95 percent of the base’s infrastructure was affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Stencel was part of a seven-person team on assignment to document the devastation.

Lt. Col Steve Murray of the 81st TRW Public Affairs Crisis Action Team at Keesler AFB said the team watched, observed, learned and took lots of notes and photographs they will use as a reference to paint different things they thought were noteworthy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They will focus on the people who were affected by the devastation.

"I look forward to seeing the results of their fruits and labor," Murray said.

"The devastation was phenomenal," Stencel said. "What I saw and felt as an artist was the commitment, compassion and dedication of people. To me, it was unprecedented. People lost everything they had, but yet they went out into the community and helped others. That’s what I am going to capture with my art."

Stencel’s artwork will be presented to the secretary of the Air Force in 2006. Although he is not paid for his art, Stencel is given the rank of colonel and expenses are covered by the Air Force.

Stencel is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in late October.

Lisa M. Reed can be reached at [email protected]

This story appeared in the Waukesha Freeman on September 24, 2005.

August 23, 2005   -   The new issue of Aviation History hit the streets a few days ago. This information-packed magazine features a column by Dick Smith called the "Art of Flight" in which he isolates a moment or scene in history and describes it, accompanied by a relevant piece of artwork. This month's column features art by Tony Stencel. The magazine is $3.99 at the newsstand. Take a look to find out more!

Tony Stencel meets with General Robin Olds at this years EAA, and presents him with the patch from the Midwest Air Force Artist group, designed by Stencel and Schweitzer.
 Stencel and Dave Schweitzer were able to meet the General, who flew 152 missions as a Wing Commander. He is credited with 13 air-to-air and 11.5 air-to-ground kills and is a World War II through Vietnam veteran.

Artist Anthony M Stencel was recently featured on Milwaukee's Channel 12 news. As a member of the Air Force Art Program, he is awaiting deployment to Iraq where he will be embedded with troops at a triage unit north of Baghdad. The sketches and photographs he will create there will be the basis for future paintings, at least one of which will be presented to the Air Force at a formal ceremony in 2006.

This follows an interview published in the Waukesha Freeman which also focused on Stencel's upcoming assignment. His dedication to honoring "Those Who Have Served" has attracted national attention to his artwork.

Past Events

May 20th, 2005 from 7-10 PM
Imagine!That Gallery
528D Wells Street
Delafield, WI

An artist reception and signing to kick off Stencel's "Hat's Off" series will be held at at the Imagine!That Gallery. This is being held in conjunction with Gallery Night in Delafield.

June 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2005
Milwaukee Soldiers Home/VA Grounds
5000 West National Avenue
Milwaukee, WI.

This event will included an exhibit of Stencel's work and the artist will be there for signing. Also featured will be the artist's new open edition posters. For event information please visit

The following article was published in the Waukesha Freeman regarding Stencel's upcoming assignment in Iraq. We would like to thank the Freeman for allowing us to include the article here...

Oconomowoc artist honors those who serve in military
Stencel will tour Iraq next month

Freeman Staff

OCONOMOWOC Military historian and artist Tony Stencel brings a unique perspective to his works, through his uncommon combination of artistic talent and military service.

"My passion is to tell the story of the soldier, from a soldier's point of view," said Stencel, 45. "You will often hear a veteran say, 'If you weren't there, you'll never know ...' so, in essence, this is what I'm trying to capture in my paintings."

As a selected artist with the U.S. Air Force Art Program, Stencel will be flown to Iraq sometime in late February or early March, where he will be embedded with troops at a triage unit north of Baghdad. The sketches and photographs he will have taken there will be the basis for future paintings, at least one of which will be presented to the Air Force at a formal ceremony in 2006.

"The actions and deeds of Air Force men and women are recorded in paintings by eminent American artists in a way that words could never tell," Stencel said. "These paintings are both historical and educational. The Air Force does not dictate what we are to paint, or the style."

The art program, which began in 1950, has amassed more than 8,000 pieces of art, mostly paintings, that document aircraft, people, battles and locations significant to Air Force history.

The first 800 or so paintings were donated to the Air Force collection by the Army when the program first began. The remainder of the works were done mostly at the request of the Air Force and were donated to the collection by the artists themselves.

The Air Force Art Program does not buy art. Rather, the program coordinates with various agencies to get artists out of the studio and in the field, embedding them with Air Force units so they can photograph, sketch and collect other source material they will need to produce a painting. The Air Force essentially sends them on a temporary-duty assignment for the purpose of producing art.

Stencel said his paintings must be historically accurate, sometimes taking hundreds of hours of research before beginning a project.

"I strive to create historically accurate, yet human, depictions of military life, from the home front to the front lines," he said. "My art is for the veteran, their families and for future generations, so that they may honor those that serve."

When Stencel leaves for his three-week assignment, he will leave behind his wife, Vicky; sons, Andrew, 7, and Alex, 4; and 2-month old daughter, Julia.

"Initially, I questioned the safety of the trip, but he assured me they would not be directly in harm's way," Vicky Stencel said. "I'm very proud of him and the U.S. government for commissioning it. What better way to reflect what the soldier is going through?"

Stencel served with the National Guard for nine years and was deployed overseas on three joint military training exercises, cross-trained as an intelligence noncommissioned officer and received the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with an oak leaf cluster.

He holds a degree from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and has studied at the Disney Institute.

As the former director of design for a $40 million display company, Stencel has designed multimillion dollar exhibits for Fortune 500 companies and museum exhibits for the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and Harley-Davidson, among others.

He is also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Art Program.

(Kevin Passon can be reached at [email protected])