Robert Chambers decided to help local veterans find another way to tell their stories.
Chambers, a Corps veteran and fellow with Upstate Warrior Solution, spoke with several veterans who shared their experiences with him. Chambers then worked with local artists to commission various types of artwork based on the veterans’ stories.
The show, called Bullets and Bandaids, is the second such art show Chambers has put together. It will include pen line drawings, watercolors, sculptures and ink drawings on canvas, and each piece is based on short stories submitted by veterans.
“This is a great way of personifying one of the fundamental goals of Upstate Warrior Solution,” Chambers said. “Reinforcing that a veteran — if doesn’t matter what they’ve been through — still has the fortitude and capacity to be a functioning member of society.”
Brett Claycamp immediately said yes when Chambers asked him to participate in the show, but he said it was hard to talk about being seriously injured during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2013.
Claycamp, an veteran and fellow at Upstate Warrior Solution, said he kept the story “in a vault” but started opening up about it when he began working with Upstate Warrior Solution. When he and Chambers really started talking about it earlier this year, Claycamp said it was the first time he realized what it meant.
A 107MM rocket hit near Claycamp and he was heavily injured by shrapnel. The story, Claycamp said, is about the moment after he was injured, when he was certain he was going to die and accepted that as his fate.
“I was wounded and there is a very in-depth story,” Claycamp said. “It’s (the painting) going to be about the impact it had on my life, my relationship with Christianity and the way it helped me build up to be a man. It changed my life. It’s going to be a representation of that story.”
Artist Dwight Rose said he went a little further back in history for the painting he did for the show. Rose said he picked the Battle of Hamburger Hill during the Vietnam War because he lost a close family member in the war.
Rose said his painting shows helping wounded get to safety. Rose chose that particular subject as his focus because he said he wanted to show the bond have with one another.
“I wanted to depict something that didn’t show weaponry,” Rose said. “I wanted to convey a scene that demonstrated a camaraderie that was so important. I think that’s really an important part of success in any campaign.”
As “the boss,” Upstate Warrior Solution Executive Director Charlie Hall said he rarely gets asked about his experiences while he served. He said he enjoyed being part of Chambers’ project because got to talk about those experiences.
Hall was in three branches of service — National Guard, and Corps — before going into the Reserves. Hall’s experiences in three different branches and his work with wounded have been instrumental in his ability to help veterans through Upstate Warrior Solution, he said.
The painting tied to Hall’s story is supposed to show all of the people who are part of Upstate Warrior Solution.
“I never knew why I took that path but now, working with veterans, I’m able to speak the language of these other branches of service,” Hall said. “I’ve had this unique experience and been able to work with a lot of unique people through my work on active duty, in the reserves and in the public sector.”
Bullets and Bandaids will be held Aug. 18 at Hub City Tap House from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be a silent auction during the art show, and people will have a chance to bid on the pieces online. The artists will receive 25 percent of the proceeds from the paintings. Upstate Warrior Solution will receive the rest, as well as a percentage of bar sales from the night.
Follow Allison M. Roberts on Twitter @A_M_Roberts
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