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Interview with Kenneth C. Badoian, June 18, 2007 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Kenneth C. Badoian, June 18, 2007
June 18, 2007
Local artist Ken Badoian discusses his time in the U.S. Navy, his experiences within the Wilmington art culture, and his work with Wounded Warriors and other projects that assist the U.S. Marine Corps.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Badoian, Kenneth Interviewer:  Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview:  6/18/2007 Series:  Veterans' Heritage Length  62 minutes


Zarbock: Good morning. My name is Paul Zarbock, a staff person with the University of North Carolina Wilmington Randall Library. Today is June the 18th in the year of our Lord 2007. And good morning sir, how are you?

Kenneth Badoian: Good.

Zarbock: And your name is?

Kenneth Badoian: Kenneth Badoian, B-A-D-O-I-A-N.

Zarbock: Now, may I call you Ken?

Kenneth Badoian: Sure, everybody calls me Ken.

Zarbock: Okay. Ken, our connection has been you came into the library at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and presented a piece of your art.

Kenneth Badoian: Right.

Zarbock: Tell me, what piece of art did you present and how did you get in the, how did you become an artist?

Kenneth Badoian: About three years ago I came down after I'd had my teaching stint at public schools in New Hanover County, I decided that I wasn't the type for middle school and I decided to kind of pursue an art career. And I had some talent, I've had it most of my life since high school. I got involved with the Wounded Warriors and people in Camp Lejeune since I'm retired Navy.

Zarbock: What are the Wounded Warriors?

Kenneth Badoian: They're an organization where kids come back, I call them kids because they're all young, and they come back and they got a barracks and they got little perks and things like that. It's, you know, it's not like Vietnam when we came back on a stretcher and nobody cared. I mean, they go places and see things. And I had met a chaplain just at the commissary and exchange and just on chance we're talking, and he's blah, blah, and he said, I told him, "I'm an artist now," and I showed him some of my stuff I carry on my boat, business cards, and he said, "Could you help me?" He was doing a memorial book for a guy in the Marines killed in Iraq last year, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, and at the same time I was on the internet and there's a website that's The Fallen Warrior, I don't know the exact name, but it talks about a Marine Lt. Colonel who took a body from Dover to an Indian reservation cross country, and every place he stopped, they had the American flag and the honors and the courtesy at the airport, you know, people would stop and be respectful. Northwest Airlines would put the flag on the casket. It wasn't just thrown off in a reusable container like it happened in Vietnam. And, you know, 23 years in the Navy, two tours, places unknown, and I started crying a little bit, and that weekend I sat down and did a poster. I worked all weekend, I stayed up all weekend. It's the helmet and the boots.

Zarbock: Do you have a copy of it here?

Kenneth Badoian: I have a small copy of it.

Zarbock: Put it up in front, let's see.

Kenneth Badoian: I think you can focus on it. This is a working copy. Can you see it?

Zarbock: Yeah, bring it just a little bit closer. Wonderful.

Kenneth Badoian: It's got the helmet and the boots and the way the Wounded Warriors got involved, I talked to a gunny sergeant over there, I wanted the right weapon in the right, it's an M7 bayonet, you know, I wanted to be sure I'm right, and it kind of expanded from there. And I met a lady from the Hopeful Warriors, which is a fund that is set up to assist the families, I did a poster for them for their run, they had a 5K run, and then I said, "I can do this," but I didn't want to keep the money. So I met a colonel from the 2nd Marine Division Association, so all the net profits from this one poster go to the 2nd Marine Division Association. And I had a first showing at the Marine Exchange here for a weekend up in Camp Lejeune, and then I had the Azalea Festival, I for some reason they wouldn't let me have a table, but I was across the street, a realty company gave me a booth, and I was supposed to have a big poster signing at the Pilot House Restaurant in Wilmington the day of the big Northeaster. Channel 10 showed up, nobody else showed up. But I donated three figure to the 2nd Marine Division and I keep on going now. And what's kind of catalyst and more posters are coming out of my mind and, you know, since I love history and historian I kind of develop more posters, Navy, Marine Corps, Army.

Zarbock: Show me a couple of examples of your work as you did. Just hold them in front and I'll focus the camera.

Kenneth Badoian: Can you shut it off for a second? This one's, can you see it all right?

Zarbock: Yes.

Kenneth Badoian: Corpsmen Up. Marine Corps, up a little bit, it's Corpsmen Up, the Marine Corps and the Navy kind of respect our Corpsmen, you know, they're docks docking us, and what I did I did a very subtle black and white, I took a photograph and water-colored it in from ______ I think it is, and the only color is the red cross on the armband and remember. This one here, because the Marines, I did a saluting Marine. If you look at his eye, he has a globe and anchor emblem in his eye. That kind of symbolizes what Marines are all about, you know, once a Marine, always a Marine. Of course I can't forget the Navy, and although there's a submarine and destroyer, I think battleships kind of represent the Navy. I took sketches of North Carolina across the river and Big Guns Navy, you know, kind of symbolic. And I have a weird sense of humor. This is an M1-A1 Marine tank, and it's kind of a joke because the Marines never get the good stuff, you know, they get the leftovers, M60, so they got the M180s now and that's Tanks for the Memories. And I sold a couple of these at Lejeune. Marine Air is kind of integrated. That's a Harrier, you know, ground support. Of course, the Army you can keep happy with Boots in the Sand. I'm going to do a couple more of the Army and their paratroopers and Stryker Brigades. And this whole story to go on and I have a collection about 325 vintage posters. Now this is one from the Navy. I got this poster and it was kind of dirty and yellowed and everything, and digitally I cleaned it up. So I'm going through all these posters and cleaning them up and I'm putting together a PowerPoint presentation, you know, multimedia, I'll do at veterans groups to get myself in so I can sell some of the posters. That one poster I talked about in the beginning, the net profit goes to the Marines, all these posters, 25% of my own original art goes to the Marines. Right now it's the Marines, but eventually I'm going to do it for the Navy or whatever they designate. I need the money but I don't need it that bad. And I think it makes me feel good too, you know, I've helped with a couple of memorial books, things like that. It takes my art, which I'm a pretty good artist, but it kind of changes it. I mean, you know, I do ships and lighthouses and nautical things, and I've done very well in town.

Zarbock: Do you ever do any portraits?

Kenneth Badoian: I'm a lousy portrait person. I did some political cartoons. One of the newspapers here, the Pender Post is going to do one, publish one eventually when they have room. Some of mine are very cutting edge and tend to be a little right of left and down here the newspapers don't appreciate that, the newspaper, you know, Voices Southeast is a voice, but that's beside the point. I'm kind of sarcastic. Humvee up armored and, you know, all this tons of armor, I call it Rumvee, and I think the Defense Secretary should march in front of the Humvee like Sherman had his Confederate troops, because the memorial book I did, nine guys, nine Marines were killed, eight from IEDs.

Zarbock: I'm sorry, from what?

Kenneth Badoian: IEDs, improvised explosive devices, eight of those kids were killed for no reason at all, and I am an historian and in the 1970s the South Africans had a V-bottom truck that was resistant to mines. So I think some people should be court-martialed for what's happening there. I think 60% of our casualties are IEDs. But, you know, Vietnam was the same way, 1944 C-rations, bandages that ripped apart and had to use duct tape. We're trying to do wars on cheap lately, and, you know, you can't do that.

Zarbock: Now this videotape, as long as the planet earth is capable of making electricity, this videotape is going to remain in a vault at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Kenneth Badoian: Okay.

Zarbock: DVDs will be made of it, but I want to be sure years from now, language is going to change, so back to South Africa, what do you mean by a V bottomed vehicle?

Kenneth Badoian: Okay, what's happening now, the Humvee is...

Zarbock: Humvee is?

Kenneth Badoian: A two-and-a-half ton, high-tech pickup truck, four-wheel drive, it replaced the Jeep, you know, it cost three times as much and is an excellent vehicle but it's very complicated, and when Iraq started, we should've learned in 1991 when we went to Desert Storm I that a Humvee is good for certain things but there were no mines then, we just, you know, took it over, and they up-armored these things, they have no air conditioning in most of them, they're over-weighted, and they took the canvas tops off, they have a solid top, and when a mine underneath goes up, people get squished, because Navy minesweepers have canvas on their bridges, so, you know, you don't get hurt, and I asked the gunny sergeant why. He said, "Because they have people on the other side that can put a 50 caliber bullet right through two panes of glass in the middle." I said, "Where do they come from?" He said, "They're not from Iraq, so, you know, I won't say Iran, I can't say where they come from." A V-bottom means it disperses the blast. When the blast comes up, it'll go both ways, because a Humvee is flat-bottomed and it's not, they don't...

Zarbock: So the full energy of the blast.

Kenneth Badoian: Goes to the top. Because tanks even don't have solid bottoms. I think Iraq is the first place we've lost about eight M180s, 2s [ph?] because of the shape, high armor piercing charges they're using from, now we can't say Iran again, but, you know, things like that. So, looking at history, you know, in Vietnam we tried to make a democracy out of a tribe. In Iraq we're trying to make a democracy out of hundreds of tribes and everybody hates each other, and you cannot do that. Tribal leaders are good guys. Papasan [ph?] in Vietnam was a great guy. He was VC but he was not VC because he wanted to be, but because the provincial chief from the south would come up and steal his rice, so he protected us. All it took was Poli-Grip for his teeth and Jack Daniels, oh and we gave him 30-caliber rifles, the old carbines. We didn't give him ammunition, we gave him long 30-cal so they couldn't use it against us. So I've got him about 10,000 rounds of short from the CVs and nothing happened to us within 50 miles. He was a tribal leader and, you know, they don't understand the Magna Carta, they don't understand English free yeomen and they don't understand the Mayflower Compact. They understand that the head man is going to give somebody three goats and two kids and cut a wife in half or something like that, and that's the way they've functioned for thousands of years, and it's worked. So, I'm kind of getting off the point, but my art.

Zarbock: When did you start, how old?

Kenneth Badoian: I was like two years, three years, who knows. I remember the first time in kindergarten I came back from Cape Cod for the summer and the kids in class made me cry because I made the sea green and I didn't put the sky perfectly blue, and, you know, my stick figures didn't just look like a round circle with fingers, I tried to make the sea green, which it was in Cape Cod where we stayed in the summer, the sky was cloudy and the sun was orange and yellow. I guess that's my introduction to art. And all through school I had more credits in art. In high school I had more credits in band and art than I had in English. So I didn't graduate, but I had a National Art Award, won a science fair aware, I guess I was ADBDZD before. I went to a Latin school, Cambridge Latin, and they thought very ancient in the 1959-60. So I flunked out my senior year, and there's a poster that has a...

Zarbock: Now where were you living at that time?

Kenneth Badoian: Cambridge, Massachusetts. It's kind of a, not as liberal as it is now. I mean, they still run up the George Washington, you know, the bridge at ______ and oak trees and things like that. The poster from city hall was a tall sailor holding a kid's arm and it was the U.S.S. Constitution in the background, and it said Heritage. And that's the guy on the poster that got me to join the Navy. I wouldn't join anything else. I was going to join the, I wanted to go to the Academy but because you had to, you know, actually graduate high school at least. My dad and Tip O'Neill were friends because they went to school and everything, you know, Cambridge boys. I could've got in, you know, if I had done anything. But I didn't run away, but I joined the Navy.

Zarbock: How old were you when you joined?

Kenneth Badoian: Just turned 18. No, I'm sorry, I was 18 in September, next June I left to join the Navy, and I actually had my fourth year English from a prep school but they wouldn't accept it at Cambridge Latin, straight A's or someplace else. So I joined the Navy in June, I scored very high, I asked for submarines.

Zarbock: But you don't have a high school degree, is that right?

Kenneth Badoian: I didn't have a high school diploma then. I got a GED, but nobody can find it. I think my dad and recruiter did something, because my ASVAB score was like 68.

Zarbock: What does that mean?

Kenneth Badoian: I don't know, aptitude test, I had very high, I qualified for nuclear power school, so but I went diesel submarines and a year later they sent me off to diesel boat to nuclear power school, which was the academic part was kind of hard, you know, four hours ever night extra, but when we got to the operating plant up in Idaho, it was great because that came off the diesel submarine systems and I went to a polaris submarine, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, three on Jefferson and two on Adams, polaris or switch crews. And I got sick of getting kicked off every time they went to a shipyard because I was single. I made the comment, "Well, send me to Vietnam." Well, things happen, they were mad at me, but after Vietnam and everything, I came back and after I got out of the hospital I was going to get out, so I got out for a year.

Zarbock: What put you in the hospital?

Kenneth Badoian: Vietnam, let's leave it that way. Okay?

Zarbock: Okay.

Kenneth Badoian: My dad had cancer, he had a business, I got out and helped run it. Well he died and it was during I think the early '70s recession, and I couldn't compete with the competition. I was making gift wrap and bows, so I went back in the Navy. I kept first class petty officer but I lost all my time and rate. I was a first class in five and a half years, an E6, which is, you know, one hash mark was, when I went to the surface Navy, they didn't appreciate that. Because, you know, the old people in surface Navy had 10, 12, 14 years to make first class, you know, the submariners and nukes made it pretty quick. And I, let's see, I spent five and a half years on a Knox class frigate.

Zarbock: A what?

Kenneth Badoian: A frigate, a Knox class, single guns, single crew, garbage can built by the Secretary of Defense McNamara during Vietnam, cheapy, it was a cheap ship, couldn't do more than 28 knots and I don't have one screw, two boilers and broke down half the time and got towed in twice, which is a disgrace. We spent three years in Greece home ported over there, lived in Greece for three years, I enjoyed it. Came off there and went to Mayport, Florida for firefighting school, teaching for three years, and then I found out they could call us ______ two weekends a month, but all my credits in the Navy added up to an Associates degree, nuclear power school and different schools, so I got my Associates in 1981 and I got my Bachelors two weeks later, State University of New York, _______ in water [ph?] media Associates, it was a paper drill and then I was gone two weekends a month for a year from Southern Illinois for a Bachelors in occupational education. They came to the base. I had a year left. I said, "Hmm, this is 1981" and enlisted people were being educated. That was an oxymoron in those days. They didn't want to educate enlisted people I assume because we might ask questions. I went to the University of North Florida two courses a week and got my Masters. And that's a bigger oxymoron. But, you know, and I didn't tell many people about it, but I wore the ring, and there's a story about that. So after Mayport, Florida, and the meantime when I was out I had married a Greek lady, nice person, that's why we're home port in Greece, and then I got orders back to Italy, Naples, Italy, and I loved it. All this time I'd been sketching, I kept some sketchbooks. During Vietnam I had a whole bunch of small black sketchbooks. When I got flown back to the States, they were all gone. You know, like cartoons and, you know, things like that. Everything was lost. I think everything was stolen, but that's beside the point, and sketching, you know, I did things like I always loved the ocean. I've been in the sea since I was 10 years old, you know, on sailboats, my uncle's fishing boat out of Boston, and where was I? I went to shore duty, got my Masters, then we went back to Naples, Italy and loved it over there, you know, I traveled around the country. We didn't live with the Americans, I lived in the economy, little town called Pozzuloi [ph?], which is outside of Napoli and it's, you know, a fishing village. Now I can pass, I'm Armenian but I can still look like Italian, bon giorno, si, and then one thing led to another, I was going to buy a house and I bought a house in Greece because I was going to retire in Greece with my ex. One Christmas she said, "Don't come home, I fell in love with a Greek." (laughs) So, I had a good friend named Johnny Walker, (laughs) Jack Daniels, and we celebrated New Years and I'm very good friends, I'm still good friends with her, you know, and she lives in Nashua, New Hampshire now, I sponsored her husband. You know, she's a good person. She didn't want to be married to me. I was at sea, I was gone out of 13 years we were married, I was actually physically out of the house nine, you know, and duty sections. The Navy's not like the Army where you go home at night. Being an engineer, steam engineer, every third night I'm on the ship for 24 hours, and a steam ship has four days to light off before they get underway. So, you know, it's not like turning the key and going. See, you have to light the boilers off and the garbage can I was on, ______, great people, great crew, great captains but it was broke half the time so it took a lot of work to keep going. You buy a ship on the cheap. So I became a good engineer. And after that I was going to get out, we had a divorce and I said, "No, I'll stay in" so I went to _____ in Newport, Rhode Island, I was teaching officers. This is '85. I went to Newport, stayed there until '88 teaching surface warfare school. In '87 I met a person, she fell in love with me, I guess I fell in love with her, full commander in the Navy, I retired in '88 so I didn't have to fight the, you know, trying to get orders with her, she went to Great Lakes, I went up there and taught at a junior college, became an associate dean of technology and started, this is where I started doing computer graphics. We started doing multimedia computer-based training, and that was just coming online then with DOS, you know, everything had to be done. I had a Kaypro4 with two five and a quarter inch floppy discs to boot it up. Now I've got a one meg hard drive, you know, it was a little green screen. That's where my computer, I started with that and Corel, and we would do the graphics and then we went to Window based. That was, oh man, we could put four computers together. And things happened. I came home one day and she decided to fill the ache with a different gender. We stayed friends. I'm not going to get mad, I can't help it. I thought it was me. She had a child and he went through a lot but so I stayed single. I bought a 22-foot San Juan sloop, called her Therapia, Greek for therapy and sailed out on the Great Lakes. I was up there 10 years and, you know, when she left I was very single, had a brand new Volkswagen Passat, and, you know, lived in my beautiful apartment, and a friend of mine went to a professional group and I met the good wife, Patty, Patt with a y, and we've been married now 10, 11 years. And she's put up with a lot, you know, residual Vietnam stuff, and had a great company, a hundred dollars an hour consulting with the training, and after September 11th lost it and after I took the cure, the waters I say, took the waters, I ended up in a. I wanted to get out of Chicago, sick of it, you know, it was cold weather. I picked Wilmington, North Carolina and I came down here to teach school. I went to a middle school, technology, did great, except I had to fix the computers and they didn't want me to do that. I had $5,000 worth of lumber donated, they didn't want me to do that. I actually made the kids say the Pledge, I wasn't allowed to do that. I asked where the $4,000 worth of tools are, they didn't want me to know. The school was one year old. I asked where the $22,000 worth of software was, they didn't want me to do that, and I actually taught and did homework, and one thing led to another and I was asked to leave, and I said, "I'll leave but I'll leave on my own, you know, nobody's going to put anything down on paper, because if you do, I'll take you to court." And what am I going to do? Let me try my art. So I started sketching. I went to the Orange Street Fair we have in Wilmington, North Carolina here, and I had a sketchbook, and I met a gentleman called Ivy [ph?] Hayes, he's a Black artist, excellent color, he's I think a states [ph?] artist. He used to teach art and we talked. That was about four years ago. I met him this year down at the street fair, he said, "Boy, you've come a long way." I said, "Thanks to you sir." And I was doing ships, lighthouses, I did some Christmas cards, you know, things that sold. I went to shows, but physically I can't go to 22 shows a year, you know, it's a lot of work. So now I'm just doing military exchanges and things like that. I call myself an endigraphicer, enhanced digital graphics because on the way the only people I've had fights with down here at the Wilmington Art Association. They don't consider me art. They don't consider digital art, art.

Zarbock: What is it considered?

Kenneth Badoian: It is considered something that artists don't do. Well, I went down there and last two years or last year they had a digital art show, they have a digital art show for one day a year, and I brought it down on Wednesday, she came Thursday and said it wasn't up to her standards. (laughs) So I go down there flying down, I think I was doing about 90 down there, since I've got a purple heart on the back of my truck, nobody stops me anyhow, the cops all know me. (laughs) I walked in and said, "What do you mean it doesn't meet your standards? Who the hell was the idiot that said this?" She said, "Well, you've got the wrong color mat. It's not black, it's dark blue." I said, "Where is the black in the thing?" She said, "Didn't you read?" I said, "Yeah." I said, "This is bull." I started throwing them off out of the bin because they're all different colors, they weren't neutral, and she says something else and I said, "Hey lady, I don't need this crap. My Yankee sensibility says you don't appreciate art anyhow. This is my avocation, not my hobby. I'm not an old gray-haired lady from Wrightsville Beach doing azaleas, but I tell you what, I'm going to come back with azaleas tomorrow." And I have done a painting called Azaleas on the Sound. It's beautiful. It's got like a barrier island with the azaleas and an old willow tree.

Zarbock: Do you have a copy of it?

Kenneth Badoian: I know where it is, it's someplace here, and I got printing columns.

Zarbock: Okay.

Kenneth Badoian: You know, I like it, pen, ink and watercolor. And I changed it a little bit and I put a little light of blue and red, white and blue thing in the background. She goes, "Oh, now that's more like we like, we could hang that." I said, "No, you can't." She said, "Why?" I said, "It's called Yankees entering Wilmington, those are Yankee troops in the back." "Oh, my God, you aren't a Yankee, you're a damn Yankee." I said, "Whatever," and I used a vernacular the regular Navy uses, begins with f and, well, they just ended up breaking up in about 25 hours have left because of a whole bunch of different things. And they wanted me to start an artist guild. I want to start an artist guild that mentors younger people, but I'm not going to do it. I'm 63 years old, I don't need that hassle. I have permission to put up a tent downtown, I talked with downtown association, say we have 25 booths in the tent, I wanted five to go to young artists, being sponsored by another. Because Wilmington has some excellent artists that aren't getting recognition in the galleries. They have offbeat galleries. They're not mainstream because they don't do azaleas and the little rocking chairs on the porches, you know, and I guess they wouldn't have liked Monet or anybody like that because they weren't, you know, some of the stuff is way far out too, you know, but who cares, it's art. I had a lady tell me she saw one of my lighthouses, and it's, you know, you ever been to Newport News, it's called lighthouse as you come in the harbor. Well, I did like that but it changed and she said, "That's not a lighthouse." I said, "Yes it is." She said, "You name it." I said, "Cape Figment [ph?]." Now it went past her about four miles an hour and she started yelling and this is in a booth in a little river, _____, she's an older lady, she says, "You don't do this stuff, you buy it over the internet." I said, "Okay, you say so." I said, "Hold it down please, all art is subjective." Even these old ladies, and I shouldn't say old ladies but more mature people that do this, it's art. They have a talent. I don't care what your art is, right? Excuse me for a minute. The way I started this art that I'm doing now is when I left that school, middle school, I wanted some help because I can't financially afford this, so I went to the VA and I was in Voc. Rehab. And they said, "Okay, we can train you as a Wal-Mart greeter type thing." I said, "No." They said, "We've got nothing else for you, sorry. Goodbye." So I called the Disabled American Veterans in Winston-Salem, I told them what's going on, I told them I had a degree, I told them I'm a pretty good artist. I wanted some help. I didn't need all this fancy stuff. Two weeks later the guy called me back and said, "Oh, make a list of what you need." What? Oh yes, we've reconsidered. Well, of course I called Senator Burr, you know, good guy, and the head of the Senate Armed Forces I think. I just explained my situation, I don't know if they'll call or not. I went back and I said, "Well, I need a computer, I need a computer with enough graphics capability, you know, I need a bigger monitor, and I need a printer." I had an HP printer and it was, you know, adequate. Well, I said, "4800 Pro." He said, "What do you want?" I said jokingly, "Give me a 4800 Pro," which is almost a $3,000 printer, never thinking I'd get it. Well, the computer came, it's a Dell, it's got 3 gig, dual processing, all the bells and whistles, 24-inch monitor, you know, works with graphics, UBS ports and the Pope has medals and two days later a trailer truck pulls up downstairs with an Epson 4800 Pro printer, which prints 17 wide, as long as you want, on canvas, you can print anything. It's got 8 cartridges and the way it's different, it's pigmented ink, it's not dye ink, it's real ink in real colors, and it's got cyan, light cyan, yellow, light yellow, you know, so you have a broad range, and it's called giclée, G-I-C-L-E-E, and that's a fancy French word for sprayed ink. You know, like the French make love sound amour, they make things sound good, you know, le garbage. Well, I had it over here and I learned but, "Huh, we're not gonna buy you anymore cartridges," so I just, Epson sent me some, they're a hundred bucks apiece and, I don't know, 98 bucks apiece, but to run this thing here, you had to buy something else, you have to buy a spider that you stick on your monitor here to adjust the colors, you have to start learning about encapsulated postscript, you know, things that you have to print press and you have to set up profiles and printers and you set up for paper. So it's been a year process of learning, because what you see on the screen is not what you get unless you adjust for it. And I put some on the web site. I haven't sold any yet. They charge $12 a square foot in town for people's portraits and things. It costs about two, I think the most expensive one is $3.10 a square foot for three pound watercolor paper. I can print on watercolor paper, I can print on canvas, I can print rapacar [ph?] with all that stuff. There's a big one there that's 24 inches. What do I want that for? So, that's how you use the giclée print. Now when I first started, there's a drawing tablet, I had a little tiny one that I learned on. This one here cost a lot of money. Walcom makes it so I sent the lady at Walcom a picture of my pictures, yeah, a picture of my pictures, and they sent this back for me, they donated this to me. It's almost a $900 tablet. So and I sent them some pictures, so, you know, I kind of asked for something, and I don't feel bad about it because what I do is I'm helping people, I mean, you know, I'm making a few dollars. I mean, I'll never get rich on it, I don't wanna get rich. But the easy way to do it is you just either scan it in or do a pen and ink and then you go into a drawing program. I use Corel X3, which is what I know, which I can emulate PaintShop and all that stuff. And I'll go either pixel by pixel, you can paint like a paintbrush, you can scrape the colors around and anything you want, just like a real painter, but I don't have the mess. This is my brush. I can change the pressure, you know, it's water brush, I can spray, what do you call it, matter of fact downtown they had a contest, they gave you a bag of junk, called it a salvaged heart, you had to make a three-dimensional piece of art, would color it and paint it to relate it to an art. I had an old American flag. It would've looked great, but I had to use spray paint. You pull up that carpet you're going to see the whole green rug I had when the thing blew up, so I've had to work with this and same effect, but this was three dimensional so I actually had to apply paint to the thing, you know, and I have a laptop I bought that I have a small palate. I can go around the world and do my same thing. And I'm definitely putting together that program of vintage posters, because if you look into World War I posters, there's a moral, social fabric of our country was different, and the posters relate that. A little old lady with white hair and bun, you know, "Help my son," or stuff like this, a girl on a boat, YWCA girls, sisterhood, and then they have the teamwork posters, you know, we all work together, Blacks and whites, because it was different racial tensions in there in all these different countries. And then World War II is, the funniest one is, well it's not funny I guess, "Be a Marine," and it has this woman dressed in Marine greens with a clipboard looking at an airplane. Below it says, "Free a Marine to Fight." Well, Be a Marine and Free a Marine, kind of an oxymoron, but that's what happened in those days. Now every female Marine is an infantryman. They get the same training. Same with the Navy, you know, "Gee, I wish I was in the Navy," the girl dressed like a sailor and all that thing. So, it reflects our social norms. I have one poster where a gentleman, a Black gentleman wants to be a pilot, but you can see his features and it's actually Black or Negroid features, so this is what they were doing. You know, and I've got some post Cold War posters but I'm not into that. I just want people to understand that that's going to be part of my multimedia thing to, you know, military's a reflection of our society. And I'm sick and tired of hearing they're all the uneducated, John Kerrys, you know, I never wore my ribbons, my wife didn't know what I had until after last November when Mr. Kerry said we're ignorant, you know. I've met more intellectual officer, Colin Powell, most Marine officers are highly educated, most Navy officers are highly educated. The idiots just fall by the wayside or get passed over. I mean, you know, I've met, I've always been treated great, you know, if I didn't I kind of demanded that you treat my troops right. See, I learned how to be a leader from World War II chiefs. The diesel boats. They were all nuts anyhow, they were all drunk because you've got ten war patrols being depth charged in a tin can, you know, you look after your troops first, you know, look better than they do and be sure they're fed first. And respect them, because you respect them, you respect yourself. And that's how I taught too. I had one word in my classroom, one rule, self-respect or respect, self-respect, peer respect and respect olders and younger. I had no trouble with school, just the administration staff they had trouble, because they couldn't cope with the discipline I wanted, like shut up and learn, I'm water, you're a sponge. (laughs) I used to call parents middle of the day, the most rewarding thing about that is during the Azalea Festival, this kid came by with a girl and he started talking, he likes my art and I said, "Well, you better go to school." He said, "I am, I just got a four-year scholarship to University of Virginia." I said, "That's great, guy," you know, and we're talking about Newport and we're wearing Docksiders, you know, with shoes and without shoes and what color's the way to go to Newport, you know, yuppie color. He came back, he turned around and said, "Mr. B," because that's what he used to call me, came up and gave me a big hug. He said, "Wasn't for you, I'd probably be flipping hamburgers now." I said, "What do you mean?" "Well, you're the one that called my mother during class and said I should be in Catholic school." (laughs) And it kind of woke me up. Then I found out there's another gentleman, his dad, I called his dad because the kid was doing some, we had come back in the class after the restroom I could tell, dad pulled him out and sent him to a military school for a couple of years. He came back here, he's going to college. A couple Black kids that nobody respects, you know, we have a school with only two Black teachers and a Black principal and 25% Blacks, that doesn't make sense, you know, he can't relate, well, "I'm a tough guy." I don't take ebonics in the classroom. "We be what?" No, we would say we're going to talk right, pull your pants up, sit down and take your hat off. And I always had no trouble with the punks because the punks came to my classroom, they learned to be quiet. And some of the girls were, you know, not educated too well. I taught them how to use hammers and nails, you know, they started getting self-respect. And you know, when you get self-respect, you feel good about yourself, you start learning. So that's me in a nutshell. I'll never teach again. (laughs) Don't need it, don't want it, I don't need combat pay. I want to stick with my art. I have a saying, it's on my business card, sailor and artist whose medium is the wind, and I've been sailing my whole life from dinghies to I even sailed a J boat out of Newport, you know, one of those old J boats from, 120 footers, and my son and I, my son has a 31 foot Corsair trimaran that can do 18 knots. I don't believe in it. I believe in slow boats. (laughs) And my little 17 footer is up in Camp Lejeune and might do 6 knots but, you know, speed isn't everything.

Zarbock: Where does your son live?

Kenneth Badoian: I'm going up to Manchester, New Hampshire, both my sons, and I have a daughter that lives in Charlotte.

Zarbock: Are they artists, too?

Kenneth Badoian: My youngest son is a graphic artist, works for Press, Puritan Press, and he does the high end press. They do more like catalogs for Harvard University, you know, high gloss color and things like that, and they use that printer that I have as a proof press, so I'm into, you know. He went to two years of school. My older son, we had a rough time because after I got divorced, he started acting up. They came to live with me a couple of years and we did well. I had them. The lady next door brought them to church. They had a paper route. They cleaned their room. They're respectful. They went to school. And my ex came and her Greek sensibility said kids shouldn't work. Well, you know, I deferred to her because, you know, I couldn't be a single parent and go to sea. This is our plan, you know, they came to live within the states and I sponsored her husband to come back, you know, set him up with a nice job in a restaurants, you know, and he ended up owning four restaurants now, so somebody made out. He's been a good dad to my kids, but my high school, I sent my kid to a Jesuit high school, all boys. And those Jesuits, I'm not Catholic but they're soldiers of God and Father John was about 6' 2" and my kids could play soccer because they lived in Greece and Italy, he said, "Mr. Badoian, what do you want me to do?" I said, "Don't leave marks." Well, my son makes about $180,000 a year now. He works for a computer group. The older son, well-read but he's not, you know, he's almost like me, he's a little more personable because he married a good girl, you know, a good woman, and our youngest son just had a baby, February 12th, a boy. We're going out, that's why we're leaving at the end of the month, go see him and the funny thing about the legacy is my ex is upset because it looks like me. (laughs) But I've gotten along with both my exes. The first ex I could see, the second ex that's her. You can't hate, you can't be bitter, and that's my life. I mean, I've changed in the past year, I've learned more, caring. The only thing I don't get along with is North Carolina drivers who don't signal, you know, and my insurance went up 18% from Chicago but I love our country. I don't listen to the news anymore, because being a historian, why would you do it, it's going to happen again, you know, history will repeat ourselves, you learn. Read about the 1880s and 1870s and the Sudan and Afghanistan, the British. I just finished reading some World War II essays some guys were writing about Kirkuk, Fallujah, the Brits were in there doing the same thing we're doing now, and they were sniping at them then. Land mines. And I met a gentleman from a national, I don't know who he was, he was at an art festival last November and I wore my ribbons for the first time, just after Kerry started bad mouthing us, and he came up and started talking. He's "Oh, you got that?" I said, "Yeah, big deal," and I told him where I was, and I said, "I stayed away from D.C. for two tours." And I think he was a Navy captain or he wasn't Navy but he was a spook, you know, did something, he was in the National Security Agency. He said the biggest problem with all these committees and all these think tanks, they don't have historians, you know, all the neocons I call them, and I believe in my country 100%, but we try to denassify, debassify a country that is not Germany. We should've kept the Iraqi army pseudo, no, we should've remembered, read what the British did in the 1800s, read about the revolutions Iraq had, the coups Iraq had. Remember Yugoslavia and Tito? Everybody stayed together because Tito was a hard ass, you know, he kept them in line. Same with Saddam Hussein. He kept all the different tribes in line the same as Yugoslavia but what happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had a mess, we've still got a mess. My God is better is your God? Come on, it's the same God, you know. I know history and I know the Jewish people were never persecuted in the Middle East until after the Balfour [ph?] Declaration in the 1920s. They all got along. Then there was a bad, real bad holocaust, I don't deny that, but remember Hitler said, "Who remembers the Armenians?" We lost a whole bunch more people than the Jews proportionally. My grandmother escaped Turkey in 1903 I think and came, she's an illegal probably, she came via Cuba. (laughs) Picturebook bride, you know, and had my dad on a kitchen table in 1904 at 14 1/2. Her husband died, my dad and my uncle both went to school, both went to law school, worked in Gillette's [ph?] in South Boston. Nobody gave them anything. My dad had a car agency, he never gave me a car, I always had to work for it.

Zarbock: But you're not bitter?

Kenneth Badoian: Well yeah, I'm bitter in a way, you know, I say I'm not bitter, right, but I love my sister dearly, why does she have a million and a half dollar house on the Hingham waterfront, right? But since nobody else is going to see this, my kids are divorced and everything, they're ______. We have an adequate relationship, you know, good relationship as far as that can be. Her boy and her daughter, you know, "Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme." He joined the Navy, the son. I guess something happened at boot camp before he got into uniform, some kid died above him and he was telling everybody, he was an Eagle Scout and nobody believed in him and he said, "I need to get out of here," so they told him "Tell them you pee; sleepwalk." Well, my sister called me in tears. I had a school in boot camp called FAST. I was the dean of Fundamental Applied Skills. I went over there, I talked to the master chief and I said, "Hey, can I talk to the kid?" He said, "Sure." So here he's waiting to get discharged, he comes in, "Uncle Ken." I said, "Get your ass over here," and I told him, "What's wrong?" He told me. He told his second class three times the kid above him was having seizures and he was put in a holding [ph?] company that had a lot of tough kids, city kids, and they threatened him not to say anything, you know, and then after it happened, the sergeant first class says, "You shut your mouth, something can happen to you." And I guess, you know, the left hand is looking out for the right hand. I went to see the XO and I said, "Sir, what happened." And I said "Something happened to my nephew."

Zarbock: But how does your art relate to all of these life experiences?

Kenneth Badoian: Because it reflects, see that's what I'm trying to get at, all this that happened is. You know, in the Navy, a ditty bag?

Zarbock: Yeah.

Kenneth Badoian: Then you can draw on all these experiences. You know, the passion. I can get passionate about anything, a parking ticket sometimes, but I'm also on medication for the, you know, bipolar, I take more pills than, but I still get bipolar, I can feel it. See I know what's going on with me now and I think this is the whole thing. So through my art, I used to worry about every little pixel, I do now but I do it for a different reason. I mean, everyone that trains up there has to be right, you know, being a submariner, you want things right, you know, you close the screen door before you dive. But, it's part of my personality and I believe in that, you know, we're all, I'm still for ______, I don't believe in this cause and effect thing, you know, I love my mother, I don't hate chickens, I never killed a dog, you know, that's, I don't believe in this chemical depression, although I have it, because of the Agent Orange. I don't believe in it. Imagine one day you try to hurt yourself, two days later you have diabetes and low thyroid. It's all what's into my body, so I deal with the meds and I don't like it, you know, but I'm trying to get out of it but I can't. So, this is all. I read a book by the Dalai Lama, that's the first thing my therapist gave me, accept what you are, almost like a drunk, you know, I can't change things. I get frustrated at things, I get frustrated I can't give my wife the good things. She says, "I don't want them." And then I find out we don't have your health. You know, you go to Wal-Mart, oh excuse me, God forbid, you go to Walgreen's and you're paying $3 for a drug that costs $120, you know, I can go to any doctor I want in the world and get 80% of it paid, and usually they write off the 20%. I must be better off than what 80% of people in the United States, very healthy, you know, and I've got an avocation, people respect me, and that's it. So I don't have any toys, I don't want a toy. That's me.

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