(Part 3) Wisconsin veterans have a rich and storied history, one that is worth capturing and protecting for future generations. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an organization that does just that -- through a combination of oral history, visual arts, and asset preservation. Join us as we chat with Curator of Veteran Art and US Army veteran Yvette Pino.
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Intro & Outro Themes:
Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)
Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward the third and final part of our dialogue with a vet Pino , a curator, a veteran art, or the Wisconsin veterans museum. Uh, if you're listening to this, it's part three, you've probably already heard part one and part two. So I don't really need to introduce it. So we should just dive. Right. If you haven't heard part one and two, come on, I'm gonna get with the program. Go listen to those. We'll sit here and wait for you. We'll hang out. We'll be here. When you get back, let's dive right in. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of firstname.lastname@example.org .Speaker 2:
And as special as that is to have that connection, you sometimes it's hard for me to realize the cyclical nature of military service and , um, you , it , it helps me examine how far we've come, how far we still need to go and where we remain right now in time. Uh , and I , I , I that's the beauty of history is that it's ever evolving and it gives us time to reflect and, and make for the future . But also as we , um, are the, the, the responsible parties of the humanities using that to , to exchange in , in stories and in conversations that help us understand , uh, these experiences ,Speaker 1:
You know, you , you mentioned the sick nature of military service of conflict, of integration into the military of conflict and war and combat for many of service, and then reintegration into society and reclamation and how it seems in our nation's history. And really in many nations history, it just continues. The , the cycle just continues to move, and we keep, you know, we keep having more service members and we keep having more veterans on the other end who have mm-hmm <affirmative> , you know, who have needs that evolve over time, or have hurdles that they need to overcome that are that over time , but , but really are , are at their roots , uh, based in recovering from the horrors of war and conflict,Speaker 2:
For you. How did art personally help you ? You said that, you know, it helped you survive. You wouldn't have survived without art. How did that help you to overcome, to reintegrate, to recover from the horrors of deployment and war, and how do you see that art arts in general being used for other people like you in the future to get us out, move forward from that cycle? Like you said,Speaker 2:
Right. I mean, I think I'm very fortunate in that, you know, as an artist before I served and that creativity got me through my time and service while I was deployed, I did become the unofficial division artist . I painted murals and giant helipads and whatever they needed painted, I was assigned to paint. Um, but so that got me through my time in , in Iraq and, and it actually the artwork producing artwork in the field led people to come and talk to me. So I was able to engage in conversations and sort of be like the local bar keep people would sort of to just unload while I was painting. And they felt comfortable enough to talk with me, which is what led me to the veteran print project, which I created while I was in undergrad and, and still run to this day and pairing veterans with artists to exchange a dialogue mm-hmm <affirmative> . And then the artist makes an addition of prints . That process for me , has allowed me to have something to focus on, but also it is a way for me to communicate my story and to help visualize the experience. And I mentioned before on the exhibit where it opens up new conversations, one of the values of the veteran print project is when we exhibit this artwork, the artwork itself is beautiful. That's a , a really great sentiment. I , nothing against the talent and extraordinary work that comes out of the artists that make these prints. But the conversations that happen when the work is exhibited , uh, are priced the veterans themselves communicate with a , a civilian artist. Sometimes it's a veteran artist, it just depends. Um, and they just share a conversation and tell whatever story they want, and it's this exercise in trust. And then when the artwork is revealed , uh, the veteran gets to see their story portrayed through another's eyes, which for me, as a storyteller, participating in the project myself has been interesting because we tell our stories in a certain way, and we understand them in a certain way mm-hmm <affirmative> , but how others perceive the story we're telling it can be completely different, and it can be very eye opening to you. To me , maybe realize what you went through, you might not be processing or, you know, putting it all together , uh, or it allows you to also challenge somebody and say, I , I appreciate that interpretation, but I don't. I actually don't see my experience that way. I , I think we, and it , we need to have a conversation about that, right? Like not sure not everybody is broken, or even if I'm broken, don't try to fix me like all of these different elements of the veteran experience, help learning, help, civilians of veterans learn how to communicate with one another. Right. And I think that can go across the board with any human being when we have an experience that's different than our own. How do we talk about it? How do we even start that conversation? And what kind of exercise and trust is that? And that's really what the artwork does for me. Is it, it , it , it helps me , uh , create a dialogue. Sometimes it's not always the dialogue I want, but for, for whatever it's worth, it , it , it gives me room to talk or even just room to step , step back and let others talk,Speaker 1:
You know, the, the arts , uh, do fulfill a military purpose and, and at least in the air force, it was called non-kinetic weaponry or non or non-kinetic or diplomatic weaponry. And , and basically the , the definition of it is that it is something that is kind of unexplainable that has the power to transcend of mm-hmm <affirmative> , um, verbal barriers, language barriers, socioeconomic barriers, cultural barriers, political, you know, mm-hmm , <affirmative> strife. Uh, all the , the arts are away that disparate, differentiated communities can find common ground. And it really does a great job of bridging that, that gap, whether it's somebody from a different country or somebody, or your next door neighbor who may not be a veteran, or is a veteran, and you're not, and you don't, you know, there's, there's a language barrier there, there's a, there's a cultural barrier, a social barrier there. Arts are a great way to bridge that gap. Like you said, I'm really glad you said that. Uh , I wanna ask you about the veteran print project. Can you tell us about that? Cause you said you started that during your, as you were finishing your undergrad and it's something that you're continuing to do now. And I think I saw saw some of those pieces at the museum. Didn't I?Speaker 2:
Uh, well, so there were a couple on exhibit. We currently have a , a print exhibit on display at the museum. Uh , the, that is , uh , artists who served in the military who are print makers , mm-hmm <affirmative> , uh , from civil war to present day , uh , as part of the Southern graphics international printmaking conference, that was in Madison, in March. That was that, but several of the veteran print project prints were on exhibit. Uh, while I was in undergrad, I told you about , uh, doing my, a veteran work study at the museum. I was learning about the value of oral history. I was working with another veteran , um, Matthew who's, a Marine Corps veteran who was doing his work study, recording oral histories. And we were trying to get the newest generation, our generation of veterans to tell their story before they forget it. That's a whole nother story about when people are ready to tell their story and, and being that that wouldSpeaker 1:
Be very challenging. Yeah.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And not try and force people that people have to be ready to be able to share that. Um, but I was also an art student and I realized that my fellow class members, classmates, you know, we talked about these 18, 19 year old kids in art school. Yeah . Uh , they were, they were, you know, at this time this was 2009, you know, I had just done two tours in Iraq. We had been in, or in Afghanistan and Iraq since, you know, 2000 and what three, two , um, we were in two different conflicts for a long time. At that point. I can't believe we're at the 20 year mark of nine 11 last , last year. Crazy . But , um , uh, these kids that I were, I was in school with didn't seem to have any connection or knowledge that we were actually at war. And they were, you know, in art school, we draw things you learn from, from appropriating, other artwork, other imagery. And a lot of people were drawing tanks and whatever they could find on the internet. And anytime I would see something that was military related , that was like, oh, you know , the beacon went off. Are you a veteran? Like, did you just get out to you? And they would look at me like I was from on some other planet. And they were like, no, I'm not a veteran. And I realized that there was a disconnect with the imagery that they were drawing to what was really happening in that. And , uh, my, the student veteran organiz that I was a part of , we were all starting to realize that we were self isolating . We were only sticking with each other and we were no longer wanting to engage with civilians anymore. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , uh, I, I realized that that wasn't gonna be okay for me long term I , that isolation. And so the print project was a , a way to marry all my different loves together, get more people to do oral histories, get the print makers in the local print community that I was working with to get a new project and to get , uh , these artists to understand the veteran experience. That's why it's not the veteran creating the artwork. That's why the it's a, a printmaker meets a veteran, they share a conversation and then the print is made and the veteran is just sharing their story , um , right on. That's important to me because it's about the conversation.Speaker 1:
Right, right. That's incredible work, incredible work that you're doing. Um, I , is there anything else you wanna share about what you're up to with , uh , with the veterans museum or , um , anything that's, that's coming up in the future that you're excited about in the , in the veteran arts world?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so we, you know, we talked a lot about the visual arts today, but like we mentioned, it's not just about the visual arts. We talk about music , uh , theater. We are working with piece of Crispian based outta Milwaukee. They , uh , do workshops with Shakespeare for veterans. They're coming to Madison June 4th. And we're hoping to create a long term relationship where , you know, through the museum, we can start using those workshops, the , the Shakespeare workshops , uh , across the state. Uh , very , very cool . I know your vet vets light up the arts is coming up in may. And , uh, we're excited about that. And my ongoing role with the research , uh , looking at I'm doing a lot of research on music based practices because of that overlap of cultures , uh, that I find happens within the music , uh , community. And it's an interesting research I'm really, really , um, in that , into that right now, and also into , uh, photography and specifically Koda Chrome prints , uh , the photographs that were done in Koda Chrome , uh , because we do have , uh , a few collections of these amazing photographs , uh , printed on Ko Chrome . So ,Speaker 1:
Hmm . I don't even know what that is, what what's Koach Chrome .Speaker 2:
So Koro is the , the color photography you might see in the like late fifties through early eighties. They no longer produce it. So you can no longer get Koach Chrome developed. It's from Kodak Kodak at Chrome Chrome, mm-hmm <affirmative> Chrome. Um, and it's the , it's got this really specific hue . You probably might see it on a filter now, but it's a little faded, but like filter coat Chrome . Yeah . Beautiful ambers, beautiful blues. And the way they play off each other , uh , when you see a coat of Chrome print, you , you and you Koro is, you know exactly what it is. It's a very identifiable , uh , type of film and processing,Speaker 1:
Man. It , it sounds, I feel like we could have a five hour long conversation about this, but I , I , I tell you what, for anybody listening check out that Wisconsin veterans museum, if, if you're in Madison or if you're anywhere nearby or make it in , make a trip , make a pilgrimage out there, it really is a fantastic place. Um, any other closing thoughts, any things that you wanna convey here before we, we , uh , round third ?Speaker 2:
Yep . Well , I say thank you again . And , uh , May 6th, this gallery night in Madison. So we'll be open late on a Friday night, May 6th. We'll be doing some live print making in the storefront window. Oh, nice. And then we have a monthly drink and draw. So if you go to our website at the Wisconsin vet , w vets , museum.com , mm-hmm , <affirmative> , uh , I teach a drink and draw of the every second Friday of the month virtually. So we have folks from around the country that actually around the world that join us for our drink and draw event, which is I teach a drawing tutorial . Uh , and , and we just have some fun with our ,Speaker 1:
Well thank you for, for, for sharing your story and what it is that you do . And for joining us , uh , I'll ask you to hang on the line for just one minute, so I can chat with you after the show. Good stuff, guys. Uh, everybody watching check out the Wisconsin veterans museum. They're an awesome organization doing great , great things. The location is great. It's right there by the capital . Uh, all of their exhibits are spectacular. And like I said, all the people there are awesome, definitely worth a trip out there. Uh, and , uh , vet sharing her experience. There is just , uh , just, just the coolest and, and , uh, man, there's a lot of talent in our military. There's a lot of talent in our military. The whole idea that this stereotype that we're some sort of veterans or some like robotic, you know, worker B homogenous, hive, mind sort of thing. Uh, but as wrong , there's a lot of diverse. There's a lot of diversity in the military to begin with. There's a lot of diverse talents and skill sets , um, among the people who serve. And I would, I would love to, to work towards eliminating that stigma. Cause I think that stigma prevents people well, stereotype that's what stereotypes do they prevent? Peop they put up a barrier between people. They put up a barrier of understanding between people. So, you know, some of those veteran stereotypes, man, they gotta go. And people like , uh , like the PE folks that we've talked to at , uh it's for all Wisconsin, Wisconsin veterans, museum, feast of Crispian , all of these awesome people are doing incredible and important work that, that, that, that disintegrates, those barriers that alleviates those stereotypes, which enables dialogue , which fosters healing and growth, which saves lives and livelihoods. This isn't some frilly ancillary like, oh, it's nice that veterans can paint like literal life saving stuff. No hyperbole. It's not an exaggeration. Appreciate y'all tuning. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit email@example.com . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.