United States Department of Veterans Affairs


Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

Featured art and artist for JRRD regular issues in 2006

Edward Tricomi's pastel drawing Pond will be featured on the cover of all 2006 Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) regular issues. Pond was the gold-place finisher in the Special Recognition Category of the 2005 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival culminates a yearlong fine arts competition that is open to all veterans who receive care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. Visual art entries are divided into 47 categories, including painting, drawing, sculpting, carving, knitting, and photography. JRRD cover art is selected from among entries in the Special Recognition and Military Combat Experience categories and reflects VA's commitment to physically and emotionally healing veterans.

Edward Tricomi and artwork

Edward Tricomi and his art

In May 2004, Ed, a U.S. Army veteran, became legally blind from diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes in which the blood vessels inside the retina are damaged. Ed felt that his vision loss was "a smack in the face" because he had dedicated more than 50 years of his career to film and motion picture graphic design. Through participation in a VA-sponsored blind rehabilitation program, however, he found a meaningful avocation and creative outlet in the fine arts.

VA's Low Vision program provided Ed with a portable magnification device and VA's Manual Skills program instructed him in working with pastels. "Vision loss is an added challenge for the fine artist, but with the right guidance and equipment, this can be overcome," said Ed. "My inability to focus on details forces me to interpret shape and colors in a broad way."

Adaptive equipment helps Ed paint and draw objects that he never noticed before his vision loss. A camera focuses on a letter-size area and magnified objects are projected onto a closed-circuit TV. He then dons special magnifying glasses that enhance his ability to study objects, such as the style of a period costume. Ed then lets his new vision and hand turn blank canvas into art.

"I look for inspiration in anything that is alive or shows the promise of life," said Ed. "I like realism and I want to create art that people want to hang on their walls, so I mostly paint landscapes. Pond is just one drawing celebrating life."


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