SEU alumna, Air Force veteran this year’s Veteran’s Day Google Doodle guest artist


Courtesy of Jeffrey Shires

Jenn Hassin poses with her completed work. Veterans Day is observed annually on Nov 11 and honors all who have served in the US Armed Forces.

Footage courtesy of Yehudis Moskovits

St. Edward’s University alumna Jenn Hassin was this year’s Veteran’s Day Google Doodle guest artist. Hassin, who served in the United States Air Force prior to receiving her degree in fine arts in 2012, was commissioned by Google to create a work honoring veterans for the federal holiday.  

The work, which spells out “Google,” and displays bold, patriotic colors, is made up of hundreds of handmade paper rolls created from veteran-donated uniforms throughout all five branches of the military. 

“I’m unbelievably honored, but I was intimidated by the invite,” Hassin says. “I wanted to do right by my brothers and sisters in the military realm and the pressure was on to make something powerful for them.”

Her process can be described as a sort of transmutation, both literally and figuratively. Small pieces of cloth from the uniforms are placed into a Hollander beater, mixed with water and turned into pulp. From there, the pulped fibers are hand-pressed by Hassin into individual sheets of paper — and every sheet tells a story. 

“I served, so Veterans Day to me is personal, of course. But I think about several of the veterans in my life that have shaped me,” Hassin says. Mr. Ralph, a WW2 veteran from Hassin’s hometown of Buda, Texas, helped her to become comfortable with the idea of joining the Air Force. While he passed several years ago, Hassins remembers him fondly. “I always say that Mr. Ralph Truly gave me my wings. Veterans Day makes me think of incredible humans like him.”

Producing artwork revolving military themes has been a constant throughout Hassin’s career, with the Google Doodle being the latest to come from it. Past works such as “A Battle Lost” and “Letters of Sacrifice,” also composed of rolled paper, convey similar messages. 

“More than anything, I think that my service has impacted the way I see the world and approach my daily lifeI live and work through a practice of morals that I learned in the military: Integrity, service before self, honor, to be courageous and respectful,” Hassin says. But overall, being empathetic is most important to her. 

We can expect more original artwork from Hassin in the future as she continues to work as a New York City-based artist and student of Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts program with a focus on Social Practice and Installation. 

“I thought, for years, that I could only make one style of art and more recently that idea has been smashed,” she says. “We only have one shot here on this planet and I’ve decided that it is way okay to make whatever I want to make. Freedom in the studio!”