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Former marine uses art to express war

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 9:37 AM MDT
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BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (KEVN) -A Belle Fourche combat marine veteran who uses pottery to teach us about art and war shared his life story and his warning to those who choose to rush in before thinking of the ramifications.

Jonathan Hart is an artist, potter, and a craftsman who has an interesting take on expressionism when it comes to war and pottery.

”I went out to the shooting range one day. Shooting a target that had a log behind it and i saw my round was sticking out,” Hart said. “I was able to dig them out and then one day I just decided to shoot one of my mugs.”

”Well I think the simplicity gets caught because people use it. It’s so functional. You put your food on it or you drink out of it. It’s not on a wall like a master painter”, Hart said. “People tend to put it in another category because of it’s usefulness.”

Serving in Al-Fallujah and Ramadi for this combat veteran joining the marines --was a natural choice.

"A big reason I joined was my grandpa Hart --he was a marine in WWII"

And for this veteran, there's major meaning behind what he does and why he does it.

“For the most part pottery is my therapy from war. You don’t see the scars left on your brain from war so this is showing the trauma that happens to the mug and then it was fixed but you can still use it”, Hart said. “Veterans aren’t broken. We’re not discarded and thrown away after war. We still have to live our lives even though we’re not perfect. Shooting the mug, and fixing it, and still being able to use it. It’s still beautiful, it still tells a story. What happened to it, why is it shot, and then after I fire this mug. What I did previously is take a bullet, cut it in half, and then I glue each side of the bullet into the mug so it actually looks like it’s going through the mug in a sense. My roadside bombs I craft you can use it as a flower vase. They’re not just a sculpture to stare at because you could use it for a function. The bullet hole, I have to fix it. You have to be able to use what you destroy.”

Jonathan has spent many years perfecting his craft. But there's something he wants everyone to take away from his art.

“People don’t hesitate to go to war. They don’t know what it’s like. They don’t know the experience. So they’re more likely to rush into war”, Hart said. “If I can express some of my experience through my art and get people to think and get people to open their eyes on what a bullet hole looks like through a mug they might imagine what it looks like in their son or what it looks like in somebody they know in the military and in turn want to make that decision.”

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