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Sept. 21, 2022

How the Art Community Helps Veterans Mentally Transition Beyond the Uniform with Air Force Veteran Cody Vance

How the Art Community Helps Veterans Mentally Transition Beyond the Uniform with Air Force Veteran Cody Vance

Warriors, Fall In! It’s Time for Formation!

Today we’re joined with an Air Force Veteran who’s going to share his own career transition into the world of sculpting and explain how he’s been giving back to the military community. 

And if you’ll remember we had the honor of interviewing a Grunt Style artist and San Antonio Muralist named “Ghost,” just a few months back, who also did some incredible work!

Today, we’re going to learn all about Air Force Veteran Cody Vance’s military life, his transition experience that landed him as a highly talented artist, and some lesser-known insights into the realm of art and sculpting. 

Email: cody.vance@att.net

Cody Vance Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/vanceartstudio/

Forward Arts Program - for San Antonio Vets
https://www.facebook.com/ForwardArtsSA/

San Antonio Art Community:
https://bihlhausarts.org

Transcript
KP:

This episode is powered by act now education, go to www.ActNowEducation.com for free comprehensive educational resources and opportunities for active duty, veterans, military spouses, and children.

Cody Vance:

And I tell people in veterans all the time because I helped start a program here in San Antonio for veterans with PTSD, depression, TBI, stuff like that. Drawing and painting and doing like just anything that gets him out of bed, gets them off the meds, get them starting looking at their surroundings, not as a threat but they started seeing different things that really kind of lifts them up. I'm like, it doesn't matter if you're playing guitar. If you're woodcarving. If you're making mud pies in the backyard, if it fulfills you and it makes you your little heart smile. You got to do it.

KP:

Warriors fall in, it's time for formation. Today, we're joined with an Air Force veteran, he's gonna share his own career transition into the world of sculpturing and explain how he's been giving back to the military community as well. And if you remember correctly, we had the honor of interviewing a grunt cell artist and San Antonio muralist named Ghost just a few months back, who also did some incredible work. Well, today, we're gonna learn all about our Air Force veteran Cody Vance's military life, his transition experience that landed him as a highly talented artist. And we're going to also explore some of the lesser known insights into the realm of art and sculpturing. Cody, I want to thank you for joining us on The Morning Formation today.

Cody Vance:

Thank you for having me, it's gonna be a good little trip.

KP:

Definitely, man, I'm looking to go down this journey with you, man as far as how you made the jump or transition into the world of sculpturing. Because I know even for myself back in high school, I was really interested in art and kind of had my dream shut down. Kudos to you, man. I mentioned that to Ghost as well. I said, you know, I really envy folks who sort of follow their creativity and their dreams into the next level, which is where you're at right now. So it's an absolute honor to have you on the podcast today. And just to start things off, Cody, would you mind explaining to us why you decided to join the Air Force out of all the other branches?

Cody Vance:

You know, it's a strange kind of way that things work out. But, you know, I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the area called the South Valley. Very agricultural, very old family, residence skill generations living together and things like that. But there wasn't a lot of infrastructure for like jobs for young men on high school. And I lived in a pretty deep part of the South Valley all the way down to the Bosque. And through inside of Pueblo reservation and into closer to Los Lunas, and that kind of bounced around a lot. So but there wasn't really a whole lot of job, thanks. But I did through high school. There used to be a program, I don't know if it still exists or not, but it was called deca, and it was to help you build and learn business acumen. And I got a job in a department store as a senior and worked there for about a year then we all found out that this big monster called Walmart was coming in by the store, we all got laid off. I had no idea what Walmart was. So you know, two or three days later, after all this really transpired, we all got down. I was downtown Albuquerque. I'm in the city, which is pretty, it's about a 40 minute drive. It's pretty long hike for where I was living. Just kind of wondering what my next step is going to be on walking around the city, just kind of just relaxing through that and turn the corner and there's all the service representations, all the offices, and I kind of looked at it and just it never really dawned on me even though I've got a lot of military presence in my family. It just, I've always wanted to be an artist and I didn't think those to connect it. But you know, I started looking at them and how I really came up with is almost like a coin toss. I known family members who've been in the rains, uncle's had been in the Navy, Army presence, but I didn't know any of us who had been in the Air Force. And that was just kind of the way I've always been, you know, whatever else anybody else has kind of done it just kind of walked my own path and followed my feet was one of my big kind of mantras. I don't try to put too much stock in or try to plan too much because I just love going day by day. And I really just kind of walked right into the office and told him that I wanted to look into signing up and that I'd love to be a graphic artist and he was like you You can but that's about a year and a half wait list and I was like, I need to go now there's nothing for me where I'm living. I gotta go. So three months later, I was I was coming here to San Antonio. You know, doing the whole thing, get your head shaved, getting yelled at and the whole the whole fun trip thing and then went on to Germany from there. But that's really as simple as it was just like a real quick decision and just move on.

KP:

Yeah, I hear a lot of stories like that man. Like when I asked my buddy the other day, why he joined the Marines. He said it was because of Full Metal Jacket. And so it's funny how it's it's rarely this ever, like really deeply enriched research process. It's just kind of like, I joined the Army because my dad was in the army. Like, I did not look at any other branches. And I just said, Hey, Army or nothing. And it's funny how you just walked around the corner and saw all these different branches, revisions, recruiters lined up, and you just picked one, I guess, right? Or was? Or did you gravitate towards the Air Force specifically?

Cody Vance:

Just for that reason, because that was the only one I knew that nobody I knew had ever been in. And I didn't know anything about the Air Force. It never even really contemplated it. I knew they were putting uniforms. That was really it and they flew. But that was it. Right? And but yeah, they they told me there was a year and a half waitlist. And I said no, I need to go in now. And they said, Well, here's some jobs that are available. What do you really what are you into? Honestly, I just want to go anywhere in the world want to be outside? I just want to just play I want to be able to hop and pop. so....

KP:

So what So what Job did they end up setting you up with man?

Cody Vance:

Security Police. MP.

KP:

Oh man. Okay

Cody Vance:

They got me.

KP:

Alright

Cody Vance:

But at the time, I didn't care. I really right. I was so just ready to explore and travel and use could have told me I was going to be slinging mud, I probably would have done it because I was just that's just the way I've always been. I don't really care about that kind of thing.

KP:

You know, I had a conversation with someone recently, I had a conversation with some parents and a high schooler. And he was all like, well, I want to join the Marines. I want to join the Marines. And I was straight up honest. I said, What the hell do you know about the Marines? And what do you know about any other branch? You know, nothing. And so at the end of the day, do your research because I hear too many times, folks, like even myself, just joined a branch because of x. And it really probably wasn't the best. I probably should have done my research and seeing like, what other opportunities are available based off my ASVAB score, because I enlisted originally. And then I went officer. But But yeah, so pivoting to the the artistic side, you know, at what age did you start sculpting? And would you mind talking about talking about how you decided to start doing that and then doing sculpturing? And then what's the tie in to the military? To the military experience? I guess, did you do it while you were in uniform?

Cody Vance:

I did you know, and I like a lot of creatives. You know, as kids, we start out with whatever we can draw, it's just it's the most natural thing you could do draw whatever. And something like you're talking about, you kind of got out of it. And but you're now doing a creative podcast, which is which kind of scratches that itch. Right. But I did paintings and drawings and just about anything else. To us more or less certain degree. Although my entire life. I didn't get into sculpting until about 2008 Because I was just burnt out on doing 2d work. You know, in the military, I had done murals at different locations all over the world. I've done paintings or drawings, I become a became came to be done doing a bunch of portrait work late in my career when I was getting ready to retire. Just quick pencil stuff from from downrange type stuff. And I just was getting burnout, because it wasn't it's one of those things where we will do a creative process. And we'll at least for myself, I will immerse myself and I'll try to learn everything about it if it really interests me. And I'll work that for a while. And then I'll hit a wall that I'm just like, okay, see the trend to time to evolve or do something else. And I do that all the time. And it started really heavily in 2008. And I was in my 40s when I really kind of discovered what I was supposed to be doing what really fulfilled me. So I got into stone carving through a little nonprofit and just got hooked immediately. And I've been doing that almost primarily for 13 years and I still do other things like painting and drawing and I'll experience with other experiment with other things like stained glass and ceramics and stuff which ceramics Some oil based clay type stuff isn't what I'm getting more and more heavy into to do bronze work and stuff like that. But I, I'm just one of those types I if it's just five minutes a day, I'm gonna do something creative. I have to do this just the way I'm built. And I feel that it just creates a great balance in my head and great life balance. And I tell people in veterans all the time because I helped start a program here in San Antonio for veterans with PTSD, depression, TBI, stuff like that. Drawing and painting and doing like just anything that gets them out of bed, gets them off the meds, get them starting looking at their surroundings, not as a threat, but they start seeing different things that really kind of lifts them up. I'm like, it doesn't matter if you're playing guitar. If you're woodcarving. If you're making mud pies in the backyard, if it fulfills you, and it makes you your little heart smile, you got to do it. And don't let anybody stop you. Because that's it's part of being human, it fulfills our soul. So it's really good stuff. It's very strong.

KP:

Yeah, have you experienced or witnessed a lot of PTS symptoms get alleviated through some of the, I guess, teachings that you've done, or some of the volunteer work that you've done? With sculpturing? Specifically?

Cody Vance:

Yeah, I don't have PTSD, personally. suffered depression, suffered other things, you know, I've been, I lead a pretty balanced life. But I think it's because I've kept artwork in my life this whole time, and really worked at it. But I witnessed some pretty strong turnarounds from some of the veterans, we brought into the programs, we had a pilot program that we did about six years ago. And that one was just completely life changing for me because I, I knew art and a creative process was powerful. But I've never seen it physically change somebody so quickly. And it just blew me away. And to this day, every one of those people, there was 15 of us in the entire workshop, there was five educators, five artists and five veterans Plus program managers who wonderful, wonderful guidance. We're all still in contact and close and say, hey, you know, because it just it glued us, immediately. And you know, you've seen guys and gals come off the line 24 hours, they're back in homebase. They don't know how to deal with that. It's a, it's a familiar, yet unfamiliar territory for them, they don't have know how to talk and it's really weird dichotomy. And we got some of those guys coming in. Some of them been out for quite a while, some had just come out of the sand. And, you know, they come in, they got their head. So you're scanning, you're sitting there just watching backs to the wall, all that good stuff. In our program manager, we were just brilliant. The first thing they did after they kind of introduced and said what we were going to do, you brought out these large sheets of paper and crayons, and said, outline your hand and then draw whatever you want on it. And it took literally 45 seconds or so for the smiles to come up the lag to start. People start picking it up and looking around and saying hey, just getting into it. Because it there's something about the creative process, especially painting and drawing something again, especially something tactile, like a crayon because that smell takes you right back to kid. Your six year old opens up and it trumps anything you got going on. Because, you know, we've all seen that little meme that the biggest baddest dude in the world is going to sit down with that four year old if she wants to have a tea party or not. Yeah. Right. That's a very true so when that when that person is able to bring in let that that child out there. I had goosebumps and chills just look around that room that day.

KP:

Yeah, no, I absolutely love it. And, you know if anyone out there is listening right now, and they've been thinking about getting into, you know, some type of art, whether it be sculpturing, or or painting or muralist or whatever. What's what's your advice to them? Like? If they're looking at to make that first step? Would you suggest that they sign up for a group maybe or try to get some type of formal training? What advice would you give them?

Cody Vance:

Yeah, I think everybody's gonna have a different outlook on it. They may just jump right into it and find a group to go for my advice, because I think that human contact is something that's very, very needed. And in a creative environment like that there's something completely Different that we're not used to, and it's disarming, but in a good way. And so I would suggest also going out and looking for nonprofits that teach that kind of stuff, community schools, you know, I used to go to one of the night classes here, and one of the community schools just to learn, like printmaking. And you can use, but they've got classes for everything. If they're undecided of what they want to do, do all of it. You know, they, we all have this thing that we number one, we have to find something that we think we're going to be good at, because we have to be good at it. Right? No, you don't. There's so many things to learn. And you being Picasso, or Michelangelo was the last thing you should have on your mind. But that's what we all gravitate to. And that's where it kind of turns people off, because it doesn't come out exactly what they think it should just play with the process, experiment, try to break it. Yeah. And then you're going to learn stuff, but I would, I would legit, look out and get the community nonprofits, get in there, volunteer with them and learn all that stuff. Most of them, the really good ones, they'll teach you anything. And then most creative communities are really wide open. They've got so many people with expertise that are just dying to teach you, if you if you're really honest, and you're showing that you're legit about it, they're gonna tell you anything they want, they're gonna teach you and they're gonna bust your butt, and they're gonna put their arm around you, and you're gonna do it at the end of the day. It's just, there's nothing better than being worn out, especially stone carving. Yeah, your joints are throbbing, and you're laying in bed. And it's like,

KP:

So yeah, man. So I kind of want to get into that next. But just to comment on what you're talking about, specifically, when it comes to in the beginning, you're probably going to suck at whatever it is that you do, you're not going to break out a Michelangelo piece right off the bat, right. And that's, that was the journey for me with podcasting and doing content creation. And maybe someday I'll share some of my first videos that I ever did. And they're awful. And they're hidden right now on YouTube, to be broken open for laughs at some point in time in the future. But even in podcasting, when it first started out, horrible, horrible, horrible, and I expected it to be horrible. And I expected for people to be critical about it. And that was fine. I feel like I'm obviously better than I was a year, a year and a half ago or so. So don't be afraid to start out and and be very raw, be very rough. I give people that advice all the time. When people are like, Well, I'm interested in doing content creation, or podcasting. And they're like, What do you suggest? I'm like, just hit, you gotta hit record, and record yourself? And but what am I going to record? I don't know, just record yourself talking. I mean, that's the first step, just just simply do it. You know,

Cody Vance:

Especially if you're on a laptop, just walk around the house and talk to the house. It's just it's an exercise of getting comfortable with your, your equipment.

KP:

And if I could just tell you the amount of takes that I've done, just doing content creation, or even trying to do a self like interview podcasts on just me like early on. I did that. And I had to do it several times before I got it. Right. So yeah, but I understand that that's part of the that's part of the journey, man. You know, everyone starts out like that. And, you know, you mentioned earlier about being sore when you were chiseling out some stone you know, when you first started into the world of art, what were some lesser known things? Maybe they were stereotypes or misleading thoughts that you had before? Before you became such a polished artists that you are today?

Cody Vance:

Oh, probably.

KP:

I mean, you already mentioned one when it came, you know, because people don't understand that when you're hitting that chisel and you're hitting you with a hammer that that vibration everything is going through your body too. So it takes a toll on you as well. Right?

Cody Vance:

That's right, that's right. And if you're if you're thinking you're gonna get through an entire sculpt of something not breaking forget that notion it's gonna it's going to let you know how it wants to be. You know stone the stones that we do are sculpture grade but they're still they come straight from Mother Earth and they're millions upon millions of years old. They don't like to be pounded on and then some are more than others some that you can get away with a lot of iteration.

KP:

So how frustrating is that when when you're trying to sculpt something and make it just perfectly you know, edged in round and then it pops off I mean, you got to keep moving on right you got to decide okay, now where do I go from here? Right?

Cody Vance:

Initially, it broke my heart it pissed me off I would throw tools I would just meant I was not fit to live with for a good 10 to 15 minutes. But anymore these days. If if one breaks, it's number one. It's my fault because I know better. And I do I am an aggressive Carver I use a lot of power tools just because it saves my joints and stuff were from all the pounding stuff, but you know, I look for flaws, sometimes you're not gonna see him. I've had ones where I'm I'm in the final sanding, I made like, five or 600 grit and I've only got five or 600, or five or six more grits to go till it's done. And I come in, I touch it and it breaks in half. And it just had a flaw in it that I didn't realize was a flaw because this particular Stone had a lot of striations and things. So it happens. So yeah, what do you do you cuss under your breath, think dirty thoughts ? But there's really nothing you can do. Except learn what you from trial and error and talking to your friends and going online and find out and you figure out ways to fix it. Nine times out of 10 If you've got a lot of stone mass, you can get some small threaded, stainless steel rod and some good epoxy and work that back in there. And it's it's totally sound because you know, you can talk to any woodworker or anybody else who uses the good glues, the glue joints going to be stronger than the mother material itself anyway. And epoxy is really good if you get the good stuff because it doesn't yellow and get kind of weird with age and stuff like that. But yeah, the breakage. That's that's a normal thing. And that's, you know, I get a lot of people asking me, so what were you thinking while you're sculpting ASIC don't break just don't break. And it's just it's a thing. Now I just I don't I don't worry about it too much when it happens, because it's it's going to happen. Yeah,

KP:

So it sounds like sculpting and just art in general is not, is not always frustration free, necessarily. But is there anything else that folks may not know, jump when they jump into something like this, that they will learn quickly, that they didn't quite realize or plan for when they take on such a hobby, such as this?

Cody Vance:

Yeah, if they're number one, it they're looking to make a lot of money and set up a tent and you're gonna get bought out and stuff like that. That is so rare. I can't even count the many people. You've got to understand that. People are very fickle, they love your artwork. They may like love the look the feel of it or anything like that. But when it comes to the price tag when you get used to pricing it correctly as to your time your experience level and jesting with your contemporaries who do similar work out there. People are they get sticker shock. But it's all about an education process as well on ourselves and with the customer that when you buy a piece of one of a kind art from an artist, talk to that artist you get that story you get that provenance you learn where they came from, and how they started everything. The artwork itself is one of the best investments you will ever buy. Because if you take care of it, it will be in your family for generations and generations generations. You'll have a museum piece in your home and be the envy of all your your friends and family downline because you had the insight and the foresight to buy artwork from your local artists. And you never know when that when that artist or where that artist is going to end up, they can become the next big thing, or they can stay where they're at. But you've got this gorgeous historical chronological timeline, through art in your home. That's, that's priceless. You can't put $1 sign on that. We have to because we want to sell it and we try to be fair. But at the end of the day, if you're going to if you're going to do the work, you need to be paying for the work. And that's that's usually the hardest thing for for them. The other thing is just that it's a grind. If you're really want to be a full time paid artist, you got to be hustling and 80% of your hustle is got to be online. It's got to be marketing. It's got to be selling yourself because it's all about the story. And I'm horrible at that. I don't like telling the story. You know, I usually don't have a story when I'm building things. And that's one of the things I'm kind of trying to get used to that other people are brilliant at it and you can tell because they sell.

KP:

Yeah, and if you don't mind while we're doing this, this video portion of the podcast I'm going to display some of your works that I see here on Instagram. Just for the visual listeners and watchers out there that are going to be digesting this through YouTube. I'm going to be sharing some of your sculptures because absolutely amazing man like I'm not sure is it. Some of your sculptures that are that utilize the is it like red clay?

Cody Vance:

Yeah, if it's like that reddish, right? If it's the one I'm thinking about they're they're an oil based clay, it's called shabam. And it comes in soft, medium and hard and stuff. It's what most like bronze artists use. Because then a either a 3d scan can be made a bit, or they can make a mold of it very easily. And do the, the process of turning the bronze. But oil based clay is really, really fun to work with and really good to start out with. And I've been talking to a couple of veterans who want to get into it, and I pushed them first to try air dry clay, just because it's the least expensive. And it's the most bang for your buck where you can see if that's something you'd like doing that kind of work. And you don't have to worry, you don't have to have a kiln, you don't have to put it in the oven, you just let it air dry. And you you can manipulate it really well. If you're wanting to get more serious, there's plenty of schools that do the and local economy, nonprofits and companies that do wet clay. And you can do that learn how to do ceramics, throw on the wheel, do functional stuff, and figurative and build with coil and everything and then go through the whole kiln and glazing process. And this last one, oil based clay, you can work on it forever because it never dries out. It's it's wonderful material to play with. So if you're really, really just want to experiment and play and learn, go on YouTube and look up oil based clay sculpture and stuff and see how they build their arbitrary stuff. And you can come back to it. Many times you can wad it up when you're done and start all over and it doesn't cost you anything after that first initial price of getting it. Your home.

KP:

Right, that sounds awesome man. Getting into it. As far as the details on how to get started, you know, you're talking about all the different types of clay that you can get into. But overall, where would you say that your inspiration comes from?

Cody Vance:

That's a good question. Because it kind of comes from anywhere. It comes from other artists, it comes from just walking down the street. And if I see a design that I really like, you know, the funny thing about stolen sculpture that I was not expecting, because I've been a figurative artist all my life, I've done portrait work and drawings, cartoons and illustration work for books and this and that. But when I started carving stone, it naturally started doing abstract work. And I, you know, I tried to paint it as tried once or twice, and it just I didn't work in my head. But in a 3d sculpting in the round, as they call it. It made total sense. And all I wanted to do was start poking holes next on it and twisting and turning it. And you know, I've got friends of mine saying, man, what it looks like you scoop that out of ice cream or you twist it like taffy and stuff like that. And that's kind of what goes on in my head. I'm just looking at that what extreme positive and negative and positive negative space and gravity and everything and stress and intensity that I put on it. There's something about it, it just hooks me hard, this new venture with oil based clay kind of return to more figurative because it just makes sense to me. But I'm I know, without a doubt I'm gonna be hitting abstract with it pretty soon.

KP:

What sounds fascinating, man, it sounds good. Sounds like it's definitely it's sort of how I am with my podcast. You know, I don't care what it says this is an art and podcasting itself because when I go to Edit, I have to edit out if you listen to my podcast, but at the beginning I find music and I find a sound bite out of that podcast is slamming the front to hook folks in and and I'm trying to think like an artist myself, like what sounds appealing to the mood and the emotions of what this person is saying. So in a sense, I kind of understand what you're saying with that.

Cody Vance:

Definitely, it's hard. You know, you're you're thinking about the big picture. And that's not something many people can do.

KP:

Yeah, definitely. And Cody so far, Where has your art been featured? Would you mind also talking about some of your accolades that you've accomplished so far? Yeah,

Cody Vance:

I'm kind of a weird bird in the sense that because I've had a full time job and really focus on that. I don't put my stuff out there a whole lot. Probably my two major things that I just completely keep paying me back in in droves, is when I retired, all the services doesn't matter which which service branch you'd come from. They all have art programs and with the Air Force, they allow you to donate the original works you did while you're on active duty, and they'll split the copyright with you. They don't care what you do with it. You can make posters, you can make calendars you can make prints of it and sell them. They're cool with that because they have the original. And that's what I did. I donated let's see, 33 original pieces to the, to the Air Force art program. So they're all in the Air Force art catalog. And some of them hanging in the halls of the Pentagon, because that's where it's all housed. All around that area. So get up on the fifth floor of the Air Force floor, they call it, and you might bump into one of mine or a couple of mine. I've had friends send me pictures, stuff like that. So that's that was a big kind of heavy thing. It was one thing to have my stuff there and know that they accepted it. But then when I get friends of mine, send me pictures. That's...

KP:

That's really cool.

Cody Vance:

That's pretty cool. Yeah, the other one that is just has. And I don't like wait, say that it's paid me back. But that's kind of a thing. But it's, it's meant so much to so many others. And it just if I fell off a cliff tomorrow and stopped, I'd be I'd be content because it was it was born out of a necessity. And something clicked when the doctors told me the backstory is back in 2008. I was E7 running a medical multimedia team. And we did forensic work photographers, videographers, we deployed everywhere, covered the southern United States going and documenting fatalities, or anything else going on that needed a forensic kind of documentation type stuff. Part of that one of our big customer bases was behavioral health. And we've done a lot of work for them posters and whatnot. One day, as this group had just picked up their products, they were leaving, and one of the guys stopped. He says, hey, you know what, I see your drawings and everything. And you're cool and stuff. And we always like to work. If you ever come up with an idea, a visual idea that just speaks PTSD, depression, TBI, or anything like that. Could you just kind of work with that and let us know what you got. And me, I knew what PTSD, the term meant. I didn't know what the reality meant. So we sat there and talked for about 10 or 15 minutes. What did at that time back in 2008? What does that really mean? What are they finding out? What are they seeing coming back from the different operational fields, right. And he really just opened my eyes of what this really meant. And I'm one of those ones. If you start talking about an idea, my wheels just start going and I start putting this stuff all together, which is kind of ironic on how this came out. Because what I ended up drawing, was a soldier, kind of nondescript, had a very minimal Battle Rattle on him, but he was a jigsaw puzzle. And he had two pieces in his hand. And he had two vacant spots in here. Because one of the things that you said that really resonated me is that there are these people who have experienced things or been traumatized by, you know, an IEP or whatever like that, there seems the rest of their life, they're trying to figure out where those pieces of them that they used to know are anymore. They're trying to put themselves back together and trying to find their their footing and stuff. And that just, it just exploded in my brain. And like a week later, I had them a full composite drawing, and it's it's blown up. Since then it's been on magazine covers, different behavioral health organizations have used it. Strong Start research here, which is huge in San Antonio, it's part of a national consortium on PTSD research now uses it. And one of the clay figures that I'm going to end up bronzing and try to get as a public monument, monumental sculpture in park here in San Antonio, was based on that. So that would if if I had to name, just one that's hands down. That's what it is.

KP:

Wow. Yeah. And as you were talking, I was looking at your Instagram and I saw that one early on. I saw the picture of you standing in front of the group of people with the painting and it looks like you did you also sculpt sculpted it as well. And that is that is a very unique piece. I love it, man. Thanks. And so over the horizon, what's in store for Cody Vance and Vance art studio?

Cody Vance:

That's a good question. You know, I've still got a little bit of way before I can retire again from my second job. And we kind of play around with the idea of having our home as a gallery who knows if that'll come to fruition? But you know, regardless of What that kind of plan is I will never stop playing, I'm going to find something new. I'm going to experiment and I'm going to tweak things I'm already working on. I can't not do it. And I, anybody who comes and talks to me or emails me, I am their biggest cheerleader, because I want them to get into because I just know how powerful it is. I know how healing it is. We've had people who were ready to end it all. And we got him in the drawing and painting. We got one that's going for his PhD now, one's going, he's going to be a teacher. It's just it's continuous stories like that, because they just needed that flashlight to show them that that dark corner where the doorknob is, there is a doorknob and you can open it you get the hell out.

KP:

Right. And some of the folks out there who have been listening to you talk about the nonprofits and some of the programs out there. Would you mind naming some of those specifically, and maybe I can include those down in the show notes?

Cody Vance:

Yeah, absolutely. The number one to approach and contact would be Bihl Haus Arts, and that's B-I-H-L- H-A-U-S-A-R-T-S. They're here in San Antonio, fantastic organization, they've got like 17 different outreaches. All through the end, they teach art from kids to seniors. That was that's been their primary thing. Dr. Kellen McIntyre, who runs that she's the one that approached me a couple of years ago and said, I, we need to do something, to build a program for veterans. I think, with your past experience with this other pilot program, and being an artist and veteran yourself, I think you can help me out. I was like, I'm in, you know, the pandemic, through everybody for a group, and a loop and on their heads and everything like that. But there's also been a little bit of ray of sunshine and certain things with that, because we were all face to face. And we had brilliant instructors, teaching our veterans how to just go from the very basics of drawing a sphere, trying to cube up to deliver, having their first show doing a first art show with their friends and comrades bring their family out. And now because of the pandemic, it's almost all online. So we were having veterans coming directly from our friends at Vet TRIIP here in San Antonio, and Vet TRIIP, and it's kind of immersion of healing and teaching you different tools to heal yourself and kind of reduce your stress when you know what's happening that give you that insight of, okay, I'm starting to ramp up, let me do some of these exercises to kind of chill out and stuff. And it's run by veterans. It only caters to veterans. And it's just fantastic people. They got in with Bihl Haus, and we just put this thing together and the first core group came in, we're all from there, they had to go through several levels before they got to us. So we knew they were, they knew what their triggers were. And they knew how to deal with it. And they were not afraid to share that with us too. So we could recognize that well, of course, our instructors had to go through training. But the Bihl Haus asked me to help them put together and I got a great core people interchangeable stuff coming in and out with all these different experiences and things like that. And it's called forward artists, just like the commander in a, in a platoon, you know, forward arcs. And now they're online, and they can they can bring people in from anywhere on the Zoom and teach them how to do art. And it's building a community that's just spreading and spreading and spreading. It's a wonderful thing.

KP:

Well, yeah, I love it, it's a great place for someone to start who's looking to get into it and feel comfortable at the same time, right. And, you know, if you want to get that information, scroll down to the bottom in the show notes. If you're listening to this on a podcast, if you're watching on YouTube, as always go into my descriptions, and you can find the link for that specific organization in itself. And Cody, I just want to ask you, if anyone out there has been listening to us so far, they'd like to connect with you. What's the best way what's the best social platforms for them to do? So

Cody Vance:

probably the best way is through an email that way we sit there and I don't mind writing back and forth. And I like email because I can kind of keep track track of it. Plus, I can really kind of explain what my thoughts are if they're asking me questions or help guide or whatever. And then it goes on from there. And we evolved from there and come to a phone call or a zoom or FaceTime or something like that. I have no problem doing that. But that's usually the best way that way I can kind of keep track because it seems to have worked so well so far.

KP:

Yeah. And what's your email address Cody?

Cody Vance:

The easiest one to get me is cody.vance@att.net

KP:

Very cool. And then also, I see here you have a website. So let's drop your website. And then I know you're on Instagram. But what other platforms? Are you on?

Cody Vance:

Facebook. Yeah, Instagram and website. That's really all. I just don't have time to do a lot of it because I'd rather be outside making making dust.

KP:

Right. And so that for those out there listening, the website is www.vanceartstudio.com. And I'll make sure I include that down in description and the show notes as well. So Cody, just to wrap things up, do you have any final pieces of advice for our military community that you didn't mention during this episode?

Cody Vance:

Just do it, you're not alone, that's probably the biggest thing. And I've heard our veterans say that they felt so isolated. The I remember a lot of the stories, when we were in high school, and all of us are going and growing up and going through the normal things of growing up. You know, there's something in our head that tells us we're the only ones doing it. Nobody else is doing this. Everybody's looking at me. It's not true. It's the same thing. When we're adults, when we come off the get out of uniform, we sometimes feel that people just we have something written on our forehead, and everybody's kind of snickering by their hands. They're not they're dealing with their own something, got it, they don't worry about us, unless we make it a reason for them to worry about us. And I'd say just get out there, you know, it's hard for some people, some people, just the thought of stepping outside their front door is excruciating. And I get that. If that if you're to that level, get with somebody get with help get if that calls for medication. Consider that, seriously consider that. But get with somebody who knows how to give you the tools to get outside, you know, I used to, when I was heavy into depression, kind of equated it to be in a dark room that I don't know where the door is, because I can't see the light. Finally wouldn't talk to somebody and you know, they put me on a low dose of meth. And it was just enough to take the edge off to where I can see that crack under the door. I was like, Alright, there you are. And it's just one day by day, and I opened that door and I was like, I'm not fucking going back. And it's just a fight. And you know, we're used to fighting, we're used to going up against audits. That's the way I take it. Now, you're not going to give me anymore, I'm going to fight you because I know how I know the tools now. And it's it's a creative process. It doesn't matter if it's leather, wood, blacksmithing podcasting, writing, do it. Writing is really important. Because one of the big things that teaches us is reflection of ourselves. And that's what a lot of people don't know how to do. You know, take your normal day to day and write down what it is and look at it and say okay, what does that really mean to me / about me? That's powerful stuff man.

KP:

Right? Yeah, it's important to organize your thoughts. And then I like what you mentioned with the importance of connecting with folks because I live in a very, very populated city, small town called Los Angeles. But I connect, I connect with a lot of folks like yourself, who live 1000s of miles away much better than I do people around my own city block. So in today's world, in today's environment, there's really no excuse to find folks who have the same type of values, and also have the same type of, I guess, hobbies and desires and goals as you as well. So it's great to connect with you, Cody, and I really appreciate you giving me your time today and, and telling your story overall, to listeners of the more information podcast. Thank you so much.

Cody Vance:

Appreciate you, man. Thank you for inviting me.

KP:

The honor is all in this end of the mic as I always say. And for all the listeners out there, as always, I want you to stay tuned, stay focused, and stay motivated. Warriors fall out.