Veterans Community Media Center of San Francisco

Veterans Voices

Veteran Art: Kaiser Diversity & Inclusion Conference

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Kaiser Permanente Annual National Diversity and Inclusion Conference ExhibitThe Power Of Inclusion: Mastering Differences To Make A Difference

Local Veteran Artists exhibited at Kaiser Permanente’s Annual National Diversity and Inclusion Conference, Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, November 21-22, 2013. The exhibit was presented by Kaiser Permanente, Veterans Community Media Center, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center and San Francisco Veterans Artist Guild.

Allen Barth, Brian Buxton, Latonia Dixon, Dave Garbe, Ed Holmes, Ryan McClymont, Luis MonteAlegre, Mark Pinto, Ann Reesman, Sixth Street Photo Workshop, Melvin Terry, Xavier Viramontes, Greg World

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Allen Barth

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As a person with emerging artistic talents to chase creativity, I encourage all to participate in the pursuit of art. To direct ambition to take courage to knowingly create with others as opposed to keeping captive our efforts, failures, supports, plus successes. These personal stories are shared as human experiences. Success is measured by others unpeeling their taste for creativity. What does it feel like to create truly new from the raw? To find brilliance within the constraints of available skills plus – budgeted – resources; as opposed to a coalition of tools and talents that one might like to have.

Brian M. Buxton, 415 524-8266 x16,,, Christopher Hendrix-Buxton:

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I was born on 24 January 1955 in Long Beach, California to parents of German, Hungarian and English ancestry. Raised as a Catholic Christian, I went to the public schools of Oregon and California. I attended the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara, graduating from the latter in 1977 with a degree in Economics. In 1989 I obtained a Masters of Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an adult, I have primarily earned my living as an accountant and auditor – and to a certain extent as a teacher.  However, I was a sailor and soldier on active and reserve duty for over 30 years, serving in 16 states and territories as well as in Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.  I retired from the army in 2009; I now live and work in Marin County, California as well as Bavaria, Germany. Since junior high school, sculpting, woodworking and photography have been my hobbies. My son Christopher and I collaborate on the lithographs as the Cassandra-in-Distress Art Group: I provide the concepts and he executes.

Latonia M. Dixon, R.N. M.A. M.F.A., 415 671-5559,

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I have been devoted to the sacred and beauty in art, and female creative power through mask-making, performing poetry, plays and story-telling, displaying her paintings, and singing. Recently, I am healing from P.T.S.D. with anxiety through art as well holistic modalities. I’m a California native, an artist, teacher, a disabled army veteran, 2nd Vice Commander of AMVETS Post 34, and the first African American Woman Commander of the San Francisco’s American Legion  Robert Basker Post 315. I served as a medic in the Army from 1982 to 1989 and later re-enlisted to become a nurse (91C). I was a volunteer Director of Arts and teacher in collaboration with other veterans and non-veterans in the San Francisco Community. I have a M.A. in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Women’s Spirituality from California Institute of Integral Studies with a thesis titled, “A Sacred Journey to Wholeness,” in 2005 and a M.F.A in Creative Inquiry, Concentration in Interdisciplinary Arts from New College of San Francisco with a poetry performance after taking a lead as the project manager in 2007 at the Minna Gallery.

Dave Garbe

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Originally from Bakersfield, CA I’ve lived in San Francisco and Marin County for over 30 years. Photography, drawing and watercolors are a way for me to connect with and relate to the beauty of the Bay Area’s natural environment. After serving in the Vietnam War and facing some of life’s challenges associated with being a veteran, I feel fortunate to live here and to be affected everyday by the natural wonders that could easily be taken for granted. I’ve been an artist all my life, but never took it seriously until I suffered a life-changing back injury. Interacting with the world around me through various artistic mediums has been a large part of discovering who I am and has been healing . . . body, mind and soul.

Ed Holmes 510 292,

I have been a performer and teacher of physical theater in the Bay area for forty years. After a seven year hitch in the Navy as a mechanic aboard submarines I fell into theater. I have performed with the Berkeley Mime Troupe (yes, THAT kind of mime), Antenna Theater, SF Opera, Oakland Symphony,and for the past 26 years, with the Tony Award winning San Francisco Mime Troupe (no, NOT that kind of mime). I have also been performing my one man show ‘Subhuman-True Tales from Beneath the Sea’ at bars, VFW halls, and small theaters. I have been collecting photons as part of my Lazlo Bean-Dip School of Jalopy Photography, since way back when.

Ryan McClymont 256 653-7540,,

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I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a double Major in Photography and English. After graduation I joined the United States Army spending two years working as photojournalist and public affairs specialist and four years as an Engineer officer.  I was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I finished my MFA in photography at the Academy of Art University in May 2013. I ama photojournalist/vidoegrapher for the US Army Corps of Engineers and an instructor for the Photo Safari Network and live in Oakland, CA.

Luis MonteAlegre, messages 415 251-5797,,

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Art has always been a passport to new experiences and the payoff is in all the collateral knowledge ( good and bad, but always interesting) that I probably would never have found or gotten around to, know or do without art. My creating something is always personal, but it also has a life of its own. I try not to intrude myself into that process too much because everyone sees things differently.

Marc Pinto 714 747-1985,,

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I am retired Marine helicopter pilot, Gulf war veteran, former Buddhist priest, and Teaching Associate at San Jose State University.  I am currently a grad student earning my MFA in photography. I create installation and multi media art projects that deal with veterans’ reintegration issues, as well as the larger, complex issues of war. My first exhibit was a digital photo project called “Joes Come Home“, utilizing GI Joe dolls in scenarios meant to bring the statistics of veteran reintegration to light. This project led me to create other war related projects, each one going deeper into the subject of war, and deeper into myself as well. Creating these projects has been both cathartic and at times personally treacherous, yet the motivation to create more projects burns strong, as each day brings more terrible statistics to light.

Ann Reesman c/o

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After four years in the Air Force, I returned to California.  With the support of my family, I was able to earn a BFA from California State University, Chico.  But being an artist was not a sure way to earn enough to raise five childern. So I decided to get a “real job” and trained to be an Operating Room Tech.   For a decade I was truly amazed at everything I learned from the dedicated Doctors, Nurses Tech’s and CNA’s.

Ari Sonnenberg

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On Da Outside Looking is my first experience in sharing my art work, while on the road to recovery from the effects of multiple combat tours while in the US military. I am very nervous at how my art work will be accepted.  My paintings and photos are an expression of the struggles and fears associated with the experiences associated with my life and the traumatic events I have lived through. The viewer will see how my outlook on life is filled with distortions, how the world is either right or wrong, good or bad, happy or sad, with no room for any gray area. The title is fitting because I do not feel that I fit into society, not in a artistic, fake, trying to be deep and introspective way; but my whole world for fourteen years was the Army, and war. My ideals, values, and moral compass was molded from the age of seventeen until the age of thirty-two. Character traits, and behaviors that kept me alive in that arena, sadly do not translate well into mainstream society. The art displayed here captures the struggles I am facing in overcoming all the pain and suffering I have experienced. It is an extension of my heart, and a way for others to come closer to how I view myself, and the world around me. My art reflects the pain I have caused my loved ones, and friends, the struggle of my identity in others eyes as a “hero” and in my eyes as a “monster”.  It reflects the tears that have been caused, the blood that has been lost, and those that I have pushed away. This is my path to healing the invisible wounds of war. This is the chance, if your interested to walk a mile in my shoes, and understand the obstacles I face, and the way I view the world, filled with distortions, and pain.

Melvin Terry

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I have been interested in photography for well over 50 years, ever since I was a kid and got a Kodak “brownie” camera. That was how my life long hobby in photography began, with that camera from my childhood. I started as a kid taking pictures of my neighborhood, my family, and friends, and progressed to taking photographs of war in Viet Nam with a Minolta 16 mm camera. Looking back, although I thought that I was grown, in retrospect I was still just a kid at the age of 19 when the draft changed my life forever and I was uprooted from my home town of Pasadena, California and found my myself a few short weeks later in the jungle of Viet Nam in the middle of a war. I am a Viet Nam combat veteran. Today, I am working with the Sixth Street Photography and the Veterans’ Administration to help me unleash, release, and let go of some of the horror that I experienced as a 19 year old kid who was trying to survive that bloody and horrific ordeal of what was the Viet Nam war. My photography became a means by which I could release some of the trauma from the war and my photography enabled me to capture my life experiences in the moment and share my view of the world with other people. I served in Viet Nam in 1967 (Tet)-1968. My experience in the Viet Nam war had a profound impact on me as a 19 year old kid and the war shaped my view of the world as I grew into adulthood and throughout my life. Even today, more than 40 years later, the trauma of war is still present. Serving in combat in Viet Nam and surviving that tour of duty has given me a unique perspective on life that I want to share with those of you who have an interest in the ways in which and how I see the world. I am a graduate of San Jose State University, I was a PhD candidate at Brown University, and I earned a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1996. Today, I am a writer and I own my consulting business, Beyoself, which specializes in conflict resolution. (Melvin D. Terry, photographer, writer, and consultant)

Xavier Viramontes 510 235-0701,

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I come from a painting background and I switched to printmaking more than 22 years ago. Though I still do paint occasionally, the main body of my work is in the form of multiple plate etchings. I switched to multiple plate etchings because I found I could work more quickly on my image ideas and when all the plates were completed, I could print a small edition. In painting, when the painting is done, you only have one painting. In etching you could print multiple copies. The main theme of my work continues to be my family. I grew up in a Catholic Mexican/American family and we were exposed to a number of traditions unique to our culture and to our church. These prints that deal with my upbringing I call my ‘Serious Work’. I also do prints with less serious themes such as cowboys, dogs and cats. I call these prints my ‘fun’ prints. All my images are made by combining 4 zinc plates. I have one plate for each of the primary colors (yellow, red, blue), plus a black plate which prints the line drawing. Each plate is printed one after another with the black plate (key plate) printed last. This combination of plates allows me to get a full range of colors along with a full range of drawing and textural effects.

Greg World 916 505-2901,,

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My paintings mostly reflect my feelings at the moment, whether real or imagined, embellished or simplified and, like life, are painted in layers, again and again, sometimes with awareness of yesterday or thoughts of tomorrow, all contained within the confines of the canvas and, like memories, some are rubbed unconscious, erased or forgotten, yet still leave a vague trail of where they once were. This exhibit was presented through the joint efforts of

  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Veterans Community Media Center
  • San Francisco Veterans Affairs, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center
  • San Francisco Veterans Artist Guild
  • American Legion, Bob Basker Post 315 
  • Veterans For Peace, San Francisco Chapter 69

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