Tuskegee Airmen Art Collection by Chris Hopkins

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The nervous anticipation of a well-trained and highly motivated pilot of the 332nd fighter group standing on the wing of his P-51 Mustang prior to takeoff, Courtesy of: The Pentagon, Permanent Collection.

About the artist:

Hopkins describes himself as a visual narrator. The artist began the series during his service to the Air Force Art Program. “It was received much better than I anticipated,” he said. “I am proud of this body of work.” Over the years, the series became a personal mission and passion. The project is a heartfelt tribute aimed at accurately portraying the battles over Europe and the stateside work of these first black fighter pilots, their support crews, their families, their predecessors and their legacy, Hopkins said.

The Tuskegee Airmen challenged racial segregation and paved the way for the integration of the armed forces. At the beginning of World War II, the United States armed forces were still segregated and the U.S. Army Air Corps refused to train African Americans as pilots. In response to a lawsuit, the Army Air Corps agreed to an experiment training pilots and crews at Tuskegee University, Alabama. Hopkins began work on his Tuskegee Airmen series as part of his work for the Northwest chapter of the Air Force Art program. Over the years, the series has moved beyond the Air Force Art program to become a personal mission and passion for Hopkins. The Tuskegee Airmen project is a tribute that consists of more than 60 works that accurately portray the foreign and domestic exploits of the first African American fighter pilots, their support crews, their families, their predecessors as well as their legacy. This body of work has been created with tremendous attention to detail and accuracy.

Some Chris Hopkins’ 70 narrative paintings of the famed airmen are permanently exhibited at the Pentagon. Most of the artwork has toured the country. And now more than 50 paintings and sketches hang in the main gallery at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA.

Be sure to visit his online gallery to see more of his amazing work!