News


January 13, 2012

Charles Ingram, artist and sculptor, works with our wounded at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Ft. Sam Houston in San Anton’

Charles Ingram, an artist and sculptor of the local San Antonio art scene, continues to work with our kits at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Ft. Sam Houston. He tells us that our kits, “were much appreciated by everyone who received one. They are a great asset to my teaching. I can’t adequately describe the appreciation shown by the warriors and their family members who receive them.”

Please go to the “Our Artists” tab and look under the “B” heading for the Brooke Army Medical Center grouping. CLICK HERE

To see Charles’ work at Studio 1100 in San Antonio, CLICK HERE

To see his impressive lion v. python sculpture CLICK HERE

Charles was the inspiration for one of the videos on our YouTube channel, “Drawing with grids.” Whenever I used a grid in the past to transfer an image to a sketchbook or canvas, I would always measure the perimeter, try to find an easy ratio to use between the original and work surface and then mark off the grid.. etc. Charles shows a much quicker method: Take a copy of your original and just fold it into halves three or four times. You still have to measure the piece you started with and then find an accurate multiplier or ratio, but it is a simpler way to get it done. This method is very useful in producing an accurate portrait or subject like an aircraft. To see this video CLICK HERE


“Sculpture breaks the bounds of death and returns to the bereaved that physiological sense stolen from them” – Charles Ingram



January 7, 2012

Our flashcard links have moved to another page!

We have moved our flashcard sets to another page on our site. Please CLICK HERE to get the details and links to individual language sets.


Students at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI create booklet for our org

April 2010. Students from the Transportation Design group at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI created a drawing booklet for our org. The students did this as part of an LTU contest called, “Make Your Mark with a Ten Spot” and were guided by their department head, Keith Nagara. The students wanted this booklet to be an extra publication that we could include in our kits to encourage wounded to consider transportation design. We filmed a short video about it and the students were totally unscripted.. but they said all of the right things: http://www.ltu.edu/architecture_and_design/make_mark_competition_td.asp. They pulled this off even when they were under the gun for school assignments. One of the students, Chris Nichols, had done a video with us earlier about designing a military vehicle based on an unusual inspiration (Part 1 of 3).

Autodesk is now including veterans in its software Assistance Program

April 7, 2010. The Wounded Artist Project is pleased to report that Autodesk is now including veterans in its Assistance Program which offers free educational licenses of their software. We had contacted Autodesk for support for a short YouTube video we are doing about Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. They liked what we were doing and offered to open up the program to vets. This program started out with over 17 different products being offered to unemployed workers who wanted to learn new software in these areas:

• General Design
• Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC)
• Manufacturing
• Media & Entertainment
• Geospatial

Autodesk reports that more than 17,000 unemployed people worldwide have signed up for the program.

Enrollment in the Autodesk Assistance Program and software download availability runs through January 31st, 2011. The program offers:
• Free Software Licenses
• Free Online Training
• Classroom Training Discounts
• Certification Discounts
• Software Discounts for Employers who hire Assistance Program participants

Go to the Autodesk Assistance Program website to register.

Suggested answers for the Registration page:

Company Name = Branch of Service (Army, Marines, etc.)
Company Job Title = MOS Number or Title
Former Company Email Address = Current personal or military email
Country = USA
Company HR Contact = Yourself
Company HR Phone Number = Your personal phone number
Company Primary Field = Defense
Company Industry = General Design
Date of Departure = ETS or discharge date

The Wounded Artist Project was particularly interested in the architecture suite of software which includes Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools such as Autodesk Revit Architecture software. BIM software creates a dynamic model of a building which is used during construction but is also a valuable reference for the owners and operators of the building over the course of the building’s life.

For those disabled vets who like perspective drawing or are interested in architecture and urban planning this might become a good home-based career as a detailer or designer. A vet could create a service-disabled, veteran-owned business (SDVOB) and work with architectural firms who outsource their BIM, we’ve heard from a couple of sources as far away as India.

Check out our introductory art instruction videos on our YouTube channel..

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From The Wounded Artist Project: vets go to Autodesk Assistance Program for free software licenses: www.autodesk.com/assistanceforvets

Autodesk and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.


The Wounded Artist Project would like to thanks some of its volunteers working in military medical facilities

These folks are helping us by working with our kits with those in various stages of recovery:

Jennifer Slack, Sheri Michel, LeeAnn Huonker,and Charles Ingram at Brooke Army Medical Center
Carrie Haug, Cathy C. WIlliams, and Steve Wilson at the Tampa VA Hospital
Danita Dahl and Vjollca Gery at Ft. Lewis, Washington

Thanks very much. It would be almost impossible to keep track with progress that the artists are making without you being there to help us out.

Please let us know if you can commit to visiting a hospital or other military medical center and using our kits. Contact Ray Bakerjian at ray@thewoundedartistproject.org.


Trip to Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, Dec. 14-15, 2009

I just came back from my first visit to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Flew out Sunday and I was there all of Monday and half of Tuesday. Went to the hospital and a couple of other meetings (taught a few TBI / PTSD GIs how to draw the human body, etc.) and also passed out art kits. The facilities there are first-class.. world class.

The Center for the Intrepid was particularly impressive and inspiring (and privately, not government, funded):

http://www.health.mil/MediaRoom/default.aspx?id=441&category=3

I managed to get on an afternoon tour of the center and was just more impressed with every thing our guide showed us… a Gait Lab to record an individual soldier’s movements like how they wire someone to record their movements for a video game; a first-of-its-kind (and only one in the world) simulator called CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment) that patients go into to learn how to walk again (the computers running the sim react and will move the floor to counter any problem the patient may have).. it’s a 21’ tall globe with a 300 degree field of view; an apartment to help them re-integrate taking their wounds into account; a laser-light firing range that everyone who wants to stay in the military has to qualify on.. they use all personal and light weapons against all kinds of targets and situations.. sorta like the Call of Duty video games; a driving sim donated in part by GM; indoor running track (very important for burn victims so they can stay out of the Texas sun); a Flowrider wave machine so patients can surf and improve balance, strength, etc.; plus all of the other rehab and prosthetic resources you can imagine. The end of the tour came into a conference room where our guide wanted to impress us with how dedicated one donor was in wanting to supply the best. Appearances are everything to promote good healing.. They installed Brazillian mahogany on the long wall opposite the door. Polished to a high gloss, just beautiful. We told her that people could have a great time getting her excited.. “Becky, someone’s hanging pictures in the conference room!” or “I thought it was a dry eraser marker!”

I know this sounds very corny, but I really felt the pride welling up in me thinking that our country dedicates these kinds of resources to kids who have gone through incredibly terrifying and life-changing events.

The word the Center wants to come to your mind when seeing their patients is, “Fearless.”

I visited:

A young Marine who lost both legs at the hips just a month ago in Afghanistan.. I met his mom, too. We will be giving her a sketchpad and pencils to work with her son, a caretaker kit to go along with our Beginner kit. It must be hell for her, too.

An Army sergeant who was wounded just a week ago when he got out of his vehicle to check on something. An improvised explosive device (IED) went off burning both his legs and back. A fellow soldier was killed. His face had suffered some minor burns but that is clearing up already. He told me that he had an interest in architecture.

A young woman who was in the Navy several years ago. She was in a car accident in Italy that killed 3 of the 6 people in her car. She was horribly burned, losing one hand.

Several Army soldiers: one Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), and two sergeants. The LTC had been in a humvee that was all intent and purposes destroyed by an IED. No one killed, but he was thrown to the back of the vehicle in the blast and landed on another trooper. He is looking forward to drawing dogs for his daughter. One of the sergeants had been blown off of the top of large truck by an IED that went off in the distance. He banged his head pretty good on the ground and wasn’t wearing a helmet. All three were very upbeat and got off to a good start.

One very badly burned GI (no hands or ears, entire face completely scared) told me wanted to get back into the construction industry. He didn’t want a kit at first, but after showing him how simple it was he took one. Eye-to-eye contact is a little easier when you want to help someone. He also showed some interest in a software I have recently heard about called Building Information Modeling (BIM) which is used to create all of the details of an architect’s design of a building (the architect does the shell as I understand it and the BIM software operator completes it… perfect at-home job for someone self-conscious about wounds or has serious mobility problems). A rocket-propelled grenade had hit the gas tank of his truck, he told me matter-of-factly.

I met with:

Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC). They will be asking a local artist if he would like to use our kits with the wounded as part of the center’s activities. The WFSC is to recreation and relaxation as the Center for the Intrepid is to rehab. It was built through the support and wishes of a local wealthy guy, spare no expense. The kitchen is a very impressive meeting place, lots of volunteers, computer lab, a couple of big screen TVs and tons of videos and games. A great place to gather.. some people complain it’s just a bit noisy, which is, considering what it’s there for, a good thing. On Tuesday the USO came in with what must have been 50 boxes of the biggest pizzas I think I have ever seen for lunch.

Members of Warrior Transition Battalion to see how we can work with the outpatient soldiers at Brooke. I met them through the S-3 officer with the battalion.. whom I met after just chatting up a sergeant that I met at the WFSC about non-wounded soldiers drawing over in combat zones—he told me to find the battalion S-3.

Fisher House (think of it as a Ronald McDonald House for military families.. big network across the country). One volunteer knows an artist who might be interested in working there as one of our artists. He gave me some idea of how to buy for the kids that show up: they are mostly about pre-school age, lots of 10-year old range, few if any teenagers.

My main contact at the hospital is moving to Germany with her husband (a radiology tech at the hospital) in January and we will now be contacting her boss.. Rachele, thanks for all your help and getting me around the hospital, good luck at Landstuhl.

I will be planning to return to Brooke in the near future as funding allows.

Other recent activities:

I met with an architect in Southfield last Friday (Dec 11) about that BIM software. (His dad was an infantryman in Europe in WW2.) He expressed interest in the idea of working on a YouTube video with us about this software. He told me that this kind of work is outsourced big-time to places like India and he would love the idea of a wounded vet being able to do that work here. We may film as early as January.

I recently filmed another video with a student from Lawrence Tech for our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/WoundedArtistProject#p/u/1/I9vnDlrJ_TI). Chris Nichols is a junior there studying automotive design with a very interesting class project: a futuristic military vehicle with an unusual design theme. I met him after meeting with his department director, Keith Nagara. I approached Keith as part of my contacting several colleges in the area for their support to create videos and materials for our Advanced Art kits. Keith liked what he heard and told me I had to meet Chris. I asked Chris if he would like to speak on camera for us to help encourage our wounded, he immediately said, “Yes.” No hesitation, and it wasn’t just to brag himself up. (Incidentally, for those of you on distribution who work for military vehicle companies, Chris is looking for an internship this coming summer…) I can not recall telling you yet, but I have visited the architecture department UofM in Ann Arbor, Lawrence Tech, and the Art Institute of Michigan (one of 44 schools in their network). I have feelers out to the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, too.

We will be adding a few more tabs on our website to include art from non-wounded servicemen and women, current and past, to encourage others to draw to help document their service for future generations. I went to an evening talk by Jack Keenan on Dec 7. Jack was a sergeant in Patton’s army and he showed his art that he had done across France and into Germany. I am trying to get some of his art for our site and I am working with his son to see if the 90-year old Jack might sit for us for a quick video about the importance of documenting time in the service again for the future. Jack’s originals by the way are archived in the Clements Library in Ann Arbor. I went there last Friday to view the archives. (If you are into libraries and old books, try to get over to the Clements.. very impressive). Jack’s works are in hinged boxes that feel like you’re opening a huge book. I must have picked a couple of dozen pieces, but would settle on half that. One of the interesting stories that Jack told that evening was how the American army would never impose on the families of allied countries (France, Belgium).. but the minute they hit Germany they would give the occupants 30 minutes to move out of their homes.. Then they would proceed to take all of the doors off of their hinges and nail them up against the windows for blackout purposes, punch holes through the walls to run communications wiring, etc. I also went through an archive done by a Pennsylvania cavalry trooper from the Civil War for our website. I will be going back to the Clements to see what kind of Revolutionary War art and hand-drawn maps we can use for our website. I think our website visitors and artists will be encouraged by the transformation of the Army over the centuries to the current day (especially when we start getting art from the current wars).

I am getting a few requests from families and military organizations for more info and art kits. Getting the name out. I will be using social networking media (like LinkedIn) to start lining up volunteer artists near military medical facilities. A TBI unit at Ft. Campbell contacted me with a request for kits, but I have not heard back since… The Military Family Network is interested in working with us. Webinars are also going to be looked into to keep our artists on message.


First art kits delivered, Oct 5, 2009

Ray Bakerjian made his first trip to Washington DC the first week of October 2009 to launch The Wounded Artist Project with visits to Walter Reed and Bethesda. While there he also attended the Association of the US Army convention and got a chance to meet Congressman Gary Peters, his US Representative, on October 7.

Monday, Oct 5, 2009

First stop was to Walter Reed Medical Center to visit the Warrior Transition Brigade. I got to sit with five recovering soldiers. Using an easel and pad, I drew the human head and then a standing human using the simple circles and lines. One soldier, a female medic, callsign “Styxx”, came up with some decent drawings in spite of having never drawn before. I was drawing fast starting with a simple vertical line, then a skeleton, then putting meat on the bones, and then finally a uniform. She didn’t try to clothe the figure but she really got the concept. All of their work will go onto our website’s gallery page.

I took the pictures done by Styxx and her comrades to show people that I met at AUSA.

One of the best contacts I made that day (and the trip) was with Fisher House (http://www.fisherhouse.org/). After a brief intro about our org they said they would help us when and wherever we would needed it working with Fisher House and provide contacts and help gain entry into their network’s houses. On Thursday, before I got on the freeway to drive back to Detroit I also stopped at the Fisher House at Walter Reed to introduce us and ask how we might work with them there.

Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009

My first stop was Bethesda Hospital to drop off another 24 kits for wounded Marines. I worked with 18 Marines in a day activities room.

At the convention USA Cares made a suggestion that we create “Caregiver Kits” for relatives likes spouses or parents of the wounded. These people are involved full-time with the recovery of their wounded and deal with a lot of stress due to this situation. I know a Marine Lt. Col. who was wounded in Iraq and he mentioned to me that he and his dad would have used our kits while he was in recovery.

Wednesday, Oct 7, 2009

I met with the Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Program (www.AW2.army.mil) at the AUSA convention. They suggested that we create a program that they could use internally with Army wounded. We would have train-the-trainer classes showing how to use our art kits to their employees and other VA health professionals. This was the high point of the trip and probably one of the most important things to happen for us. My first thought is that it would be a one-day class that covers all of our kits, including Kid Kits and Caregiver Kits. We might even try to get an Art Therapist to speak to the attendees.

Later on at the convention I stopped at Heckler & Koch, a German small arms manufacturer. They said that they don’t typically give money, but products to raffle, like a pistol. The irony is not lost on me..

The last booth I visited before they closed the show down for good was US Ordnance. They would consider providing heavy machine guns and ammo for a charity shoot. More and greater irony!

Visit to Congressman Peters

About lunchtime on Wednesday I took the subway again this time to visit my Congressman, Mr. Gary Peters. I had spoken to his staffers here in Michigan less than a week before and they offered up a chance to meet him in DC. I got to his office in the Longworth Building on the south side of the US Capitol for a 1:15 appointment but he was running late because of voting. We had to go to the Capitol. I got a quick meeting with him and a pic for our files. He said he thought we are doing a good thing helping vets.

trip to dc oct 2009 019

Thursday, Oct 8, 2009

I got a listing of other Warrior Transition Units across the country from my contact at Walter Reed and will be contacting these people with a mass email asking how to interact with them and more importantly for some history as to the numbers of people they work with. While I was there at the Warrior Transition Brigade a sergeant and his wife dropped by. He is recovering from brain cancer and trying to reconnect mentally. I gave him an art kit and he and his wife were very thankful and encouraged that it would help them both deal with his recovery.

I also dropped by the Fisher House before driving back to Michigan. They wanted to know when I could come back.

As you can see there was a lot of activity just in that short three and a half days.


August 23, 2009 – Ms. Korie Wilkins of the Detroit Free Press wrote us up as well. Page 11A of the Sunday paper, I was afraid that we were going to be on page 17H next to some eggplant recipes.

USA Today picked her strory up a few hours later:
http://content.usatoday.com/topics/article/Places,+Geography/Countries/Afghanistan/01D81yWaVVa9H/1
This one was really unexpected. Wow.


July 29, 2009Read all about our project in our first article by David Wallace in the Farmington Press titled, ” ‘Drawn’ to help “

Taleen sent us this.. it’s the same article in Armenian and it was printed in the Armenian edition of Asbarez newspaper.

Asbarez Article