Chico, Calif. -- Veterans and artists, Drew Cameron and Ehren Tool, held workshops at MONCA on Saturday to present their art and talk about their military experiences.
"Peace is the only adequate war memorial, if you're serious about honoring the dead, there should be no more wars. Peace is the only war memorial. Everything else is at best, a failure," said Tool.
Tool simply defines himself as a cup maker.
"The only artist statement I feel comfortable with is, 'I make cups,' everything else is what other people say about my work," said Tool.
Tool is also a marine veteran of the 1991 Gulf War.
"When I got out of the Marine Corps, took the GI Bill and went to school, trying to find something I wanted to do with the rest of my life, art stuck, specifically ceramics stuck," said Tool.
Tool is an artist who specializes in making ceramic cups. Talking about war is difficult, the cups offer a starting point that feels more accessible and comfortable to most people.
"The last 18 years, my whole art career, the whole time I've been making cups we've been at war which is really crushing and depressing. As a veteran, I thought I was going to make the world a better place," said Tool.
Drew Cameron is an Iraq war veteran and artist. He takes uniforms that are given to him, shreds them into pulp and turns them into paper. Cameron said each uniform has a personal connection and a story to tell.
"For me, I was searching for a way to translate stories by taking something very meaningful and putting it into a process I have great reverence for," said Cameron.
It is a process that has helped many veterans make sense of their experiences in a constructive, safe and artistic environment.
"When I begin to think of the very complex ways that we reference the military experience, going to the source, which is the human story, is very important, not thinking from a big historical perspective, but from a person to a person," said Cameron.
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