Veterans who are also artists are sharing their stories this weekend at Cal Poly Humboldt and College of the Redwoods for the Art in Service events.
“I’m on a panel tonight with the dinner and discussion at the Veterans Hall in Arcata,” said Mark Walker, a veteran panelist. “And so just talk about veterans–going into civilian life, what does that look like? Identity, purpose, and how the military helps us with that and how we sort of find that sort of purpose in art and other places.”
Mark traveled from Oakland for the Art in Service events with his wife, Lynn Walker. Lynn and Mark are both Air Force veterans who met while they were stationed in the Philippines in 1994.
“For me, it’s more about helping veterans to make art together,” Lynn said. “So specifically, I’ll be doing graphite and we will be focusing on nature because it’s so beautiful here. So we want to be able to capture the beauty of the scene.”
The couple share their military experiences with others and continue to serve by working with veterans and art. Today’s art demonstration was by Ehren Tool, a ceramicist and veteran, who uses his work to start a conversation.
“I have stories about all the cups and what the images are and what they mean to me,” Tool said. “But what’s more interesting is you take the cup back into your life and then somebody you already know, love, and trust maybe you can share a story that wouldn’t come up otherwise, you know? My father didn’t talk about his war and my grandfather didn’t talk about his war until I came back from my war.”
Tool adds that making and sharing the cups he creates is a joy and when he traveled the world as a marine, it was interesting, but traveling the world as an artist is much better.”The purpose of the Art in Service events is to celebrate Veterans Day. The Art in Service series runs through November 14. To view the calendar of events click here.