Who's who - A portrait of a person who is a part of your community

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Name: Tom Bakey Age: 74 Occupation: Theoretical physicist, CADartists owner Family: Wife, Deborah; and children, Maureen, Patrick, Sean and Erin City of residence: Lincoln How would you describe yourself? “I’m a theoretical guy.” What do you like to do for fun? “Poetry, physics and music. I also like dealing with kids. Dealing with kids three times over. I make all kinds of artwork with a mouse on a blank computer screen. I copied one of Monet’s garden paintings in five minutes with a brush I designed.” How long have you been working with kids? “I’ve been working with kids my whole life. I have four of them. Officially, though, I’ve been working with kids since I started CADartists in 1993.” What is CADartists? “It’s a company I started where I work with disabled kids and adults but mostly kids. They get the chance to make art with Microsoft Paint and a lot of it has been commissioned. We did portraits of Bill Gates and sent them to him and he eventually sent some of his top people down to Silicon Valley, where we were at the time, and these kids with autism, Downs Syndrome and MS were telling them where they could improve Paint.” What other work is by CADartists? “They’ve done a lot of drawings of cities. They did a lot of them from Sunnyvale, San Francisco and even Lincoln. I’ve taught at Creekside Oaks and I have a lesson plan for painting many of Lincoln’s buildings in Paint.” What made you want to work with kids, initially? “I’m a big kid. I never grew up.” What drives you to teach? “The drive for teaching is the kids. It’s always the kids.” What is the most rewarding part of working with kids through CADartists? “Seeing them light up. Finding themselves makes them light up. The funny thing is that they already feel good about themselves. It’s the adults who feel bad and sorry for them. There’s nothing wrong in their world. When I ask them how they did something, they say, ‘We used our imaginations.’ I’m just giving them something to play with.” What do the kids gain? “Confidence. But the whole point is having fun.” Have you started other companies before CADartists? “Yes. I started five or six companies in high-tech. Most were around computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering. I did image stabilization of lenses and that sort of thing. That was all the crass commercialism in me. You don’t make a lot of money as a theoretical physicist. People don’t pay you to just sit around and think all day.” What would someone be surprised to know about you? “Hopefully no one knows about me. I wrote a poem about that one time.” What are your goals for the future? “I want to expand so more kids can enjoy what the kids in CADartists are doing. There are many opportunities here in Lincoln.” How can kids get in contact with you? “They can go online at or call me at 434-5361.”