The AHEPAN - Winter 2014 - (Page 16)
How a World War II Vet Became Boise's "Artist on Call"
Brother Troy Cutrubus
Brother John Collias enlisted in the Army Air Corps during
World War II and that is how he ended up just outside of
Boise working on war posters and cartoon strips for the base's
newspaper, The Gowen Field Beacon. Their posters exhibit the
familiar and dramatic aesthetic of wartime propaganda produced
during that period, but John's portraiture in the "Soldier
of the Week" and "Gowen Honor Roll" segments portray a
more honest, if not raw,
aesthetic. The work that
was produced during the
1940s embodied American
epoch and also managed
to capture the individual
and women who
were working and living
at Gowen Field during the
the European theater,
Collias married a Boise girl
he met while stationed at
Gowen Field, Lily Kepros.
After the war they moved to Chicago where John graduated
from the American Academy of Art. He was hoping, perhaps,
for a promising future as a commercial artist in illustration
and advertising. The young Collias family spent ten years in
and around Chicago before returning to Boise where the Daily
Statesman hired him as the first and only "artist-reporter."
"Round About the Boise Valley" was a weekly segment that
allowed Boise's "wandering artist-at-large" to report on current
happenings, random quips, and overheard oddities alongside a
sketch of a Boise resident that John would decide to highlight.
The segment ran for 50 weeks. Each week provided a glimpse
of what life was like in post-war Boise. John also worked the
Statesman section called "A Portrait of a Distinguished Citizen,"
which featured a weekly portrait and short biographical sketch
that highlighted a member of the community for their contributions
and service. "The Distinguished Citizen" segment ran
for thirty years, from 1963 to 1993. John managed to capture
the essence of an individual through tedious shading and
Information source: A & H Staff, "Link's Modern Business College" Boise City Department of Arts & History. http://www.boiseartsandhistory.org/history/
research-collection/enterprise/business-industry/link's-modern-business-college/, accessed 25 March 2013.
16 | THE AHEPAN · Winter 2014
careful cross-hatching. In total, he managed to produce over
two-thousand sketches for the "Distinguished Citizen."
and commissioned portraits,
Collias worked on
the paintings in the St.
Constantine and Helen
Greek Orthodox Church.
It did not take long for
Boise's citizens to call on
John Collias for personal
Since 1951 he has been
Boise's "artist on call"
and managed to keep
busy painting folks like
the Simplots, Senator
Borah, Governors Robert
Smylie, D.W. Davis, and Moses Alexander, and finally, his father.
District 17 Governor Troy Cutrubus visited Boise Chapter
254 to honor Brother John Collias, 96, with an AHEPA Lifetime
Achievement Award for his military and civilian service which
exemplify AHEPA's mission. The presentation was made at a
luncheon in Brother John's honor, October 11, 2014, at Saints
Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Boise.
(L-R): Brother John Collias, District 17
Governor Troy Cutrubus, and sitting,
Fr. Nektarios. Below: Brother Collias in
his art studio.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The AHEPAN - Winter 2014
AHEPA Family News
Our Commitment to the "E" in AHEPA
AHEPA Family Embarks on Capital Campaign for Saint Nicholas National Shrine
A Student Reflects on Her Journey to Greece Experience
Hellenic Cultural Commission
AHEPA Family Chapter News
The AHEPAN - Winter 2014