Richie Iuso is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Vietnam 11B Infantry from 1966-1968.
Mr. Iuso is a self-taught artist who enjoys exploring a range of art materials and themes. He began attending the art therapy group several years ago. “I used to be really off the charts angry - probably due to my experiences in the military. Since attending Art of the Brave Art Therapy Group, I’ve changed a lot. I didn’t expect the group to be so life-changing. I’m able to control my temper. Art takes my mood away from negative thoughts and I’m able to be happy in the moment, nothing else matters. Sometimes I’m able to take this feeling with me beyond the art studio. I’ve also discovered that I have a lot more potential that I express both in my art and in my life.”
Mr. Iuso creates a range of different themes in his art; from the solemn memorials to relaxing landscapes, but he also finds that he is compelled to create imagery relating to his experience in Vietnam.
“You, Number 10, G.I.” This is an image of an elderly Vietnamese woman. It represents how some of th Vietnamese people felt about our presence there. If they didn’t like you, especially the elderly women, they would say “You, G.I., you’re number 10”. It was not a good feeling to be pointed at an told how much you were despised. The image of this woman and her words haunts me to this day.
The Giant Steps Program is an arts-driven outpatient mental health program for Veterans connected with VA Connecticut Healthcare. The mission of Giant Steps is to promote the wellness and recovery of Veterans by providing opportunities for creative expression, and connection with others so they can rediscover personal strengths, manage stress, build resilience, enhance self- empowerment and find meaning and pleasure in their lives.
Laura Spinelli, MA, ATR, LPC
Director, Giant Steps Program
VA Connecticut HCS