According to Mike at SinceWeWokeUp.com, "People often assume (albeit, correctly) that you have to be a bit touched in the head to break away from societal norms and move your entire life into a retired school bus. While the romantics of living in a school bus full-time (fewer bills, more freedom, travel, etc.) are often what draw people into this lifestyle, there is a hidden gem one finds upon diving headfirst into the skoolie community." (insert promotion of an article that was written by Navy Veteran Artist, Mike, about the Painted buffalo. https://sincewewokeup.com/skoolie-feature-friday-painted-buffalo-traveling-studio/)
If that isn't the truest statement not only for skoolie dwellers but Artists who went from civilians to the armed services, I am not sure what would be. Doing all of them?! well, that just means for the few of us I've found that served our country and heal through making were struck by lightning and bite by a shark in the same afternoon.
For me, the best part of Veteran Artist life and a Skoolie dweller is the community that you're instantly accepted into. They both have life style changes for the better and that includes the instant family that comes with it.
This brings me to the reason this Veteran bought a school bus. My transition experience out of the Marine Corps was nothing but a boot in the ass with a heavy side of pill addiction and a double helping of mental health problems. It may sound way more dramatic than it was but for me, I loved EVERY. SINGLE. THING. about being in the Marine Corps. At the very end what I felt was not a mutual love affair between the Marine Corps and I, but a one sided toxic addiction that I just couldn't shake. After detoxing from opioids in the second semester of Art school (I had some real trippy work back then) I started a year of broken up self growth. You know the kind; You get dumped and you instantly think something to the effect of, "I'm better off with out him!" but deep down the ache that you feel in the roots of your existence ache a pain that no one thinks they can survive. Back then, I didn't want to survive, one day at the end of my Marine Corps Career, I tried not to survive. So when Veterans tell their truth, I know exactly what they are feeling, thinking, overcoming. I too have been in your combat boots, I too have been dumped out and discarded.
After two years of art school and struggling through classes to become an art teacher.. I took a class called Community Art Methods, I came up with this idea. A Veteran Art Studio that can go directly to the Veteran. No matter where they are, what they want to make, or what they are going through. I had lived my pedagogy that I thought I was making for a k-12 class room, when in reality, I was making it all along for Veterans. I mean lets face it, most Marines you've met are like kindergarteners... right?!
Although I am no writer, I thought it would be an interesting dynamic to have a space to talk freely about both communities and how they intersect daily. Each week We will be featuring a Veteran who happens to also be an artist. Know, I know the mail I will be receiving after this.... Yes.. You too are an artist. Is Maker a better word?! I think so, but I've already started marketing and thats what it says. Just kidding. I really want Veteran who make know, that they too are artists. Whether you're making knives, Painting, welding a frame together or ever being a mechanic. You too are makers.
Thank you to those who have made it this far in my scrambled words and We are so happy that you are here. The most important part of this blog posting for me is to get our Veteran Artist message out there, support local Veteran Artists in your area, and maybe learn a thing or two a long the way. fuck! maybe even spark an idea in your own maker practice.