The Folk Art of Marine Combat Veteran Michael D. Cousino, Sr.
A study of a Marine veteran’s dioramas that translate the Vietnam War into art that is both a personal and a communal restorative
Like many other veterans of the Vietnam conflict, Michael Cousino, a disabled former Marine from Gouverneur, New York, continues to struggle with bad memories and daily life adjustments. Unlike many other veterans, he has found an outlet for his frustrations and grief. He creates miniature replicas of his Vietnam experiences. In these astonishingly detailed dioramas, he recalls scenes of battle and related episodes that reflect his life of some thirty years ago.
His dioramas are on a 1:35 scale, replete with intricacies that grip his painful past. He began this work in 1983, as he says, “to keep from going bonkers when I couldn’t find a job. ” Having completed more than two hundred dioramas, no two alike and none ever for sale, Cousino has represented firefights, POW camps, torture pits, and ambushes.
This unique art serves both Cousino and an appreciative audience. For him it is both therapeutic and didactic. For those who see his dioramas, there is aesthetic understanding and interaction. In sharing and interacting, Cousino has made his art an essential part of folk expression. This book features his unusual art in 36 pages of color photographs by Martha Cooper.