I recently had the opportunity to submit a painting to the Creative Arts Festival at the Palm Beach VA. This painting won 1st place in the acrylics category. I have been wanting to paint one of the Tuskegee Airmen for some time. I remember reading a story about the Red Tails and their actions in WWII. It was inspirational to me on many levels.
Willie Roger was the last surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen. In November 2013, Rogers received his Congressional Gold Medal. He was 101 years old at the time of his death in St. Petersburg FL.
I chose to do this painting for a couple of reasons. I admired the resilience of these guys. During my time in the Air Force, I remember thinking about challenges these guys went through and how they kept their poise. It was motivational for me being a young black Airman. I wanted to honor their legacy with my service, my attitude, and how I carried myself. I made up my mind from the start that I wanted to be excellent at whatever task I had.
Another reason I admired Willie Rogers is that after his service he opened a small business in Florida. It gave me hope. He had a dream and acted on it. He created a lane for himself and carved his own path. What his story represents to me is that Significance is greater than Success. I want my story to be a story of significance. Art is just a tool we use to help bring change to others life. My hope is that one of my paintings will inspire someone to follow their own passion. In the end, I want to have lived a life of service, a life of significance.