Have you heard of Steve Skipper?
Most people haven’t, but they have seen and appreciated his work.
Skipper is a prolific artist who is best known for his sports paintings. The cost of his art didn’t wait until he was dead to rise in value. He is very much alive and the demand for his work is so high that his paintings now go for thousands of dollars each.
Before you admire him due to his rising popularity, consider that being a celebrity is a small part of who he is. Skipper’s life has transformed in front of a growing crowd of fans. Not because of his great work, but because of several miracles that touched his life
We learn about Skipper’s previous life in the Crip gang. His life is one of the few that was able to get out alive.
Skipper’s paintings include topics of sports, civil-rights, equestrian, portraiture, and contemporary Christian. He shattered the barriers of race and education.
In fact, he had a teacher that pulled him to the side one day knowing his abilities needed to be fanned into flames. She provided him painting materials out of her own pocket to give him a shot at what he did best in life.
His work hangs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and International Sports Halls of Fame. Other locations include the Paul W Bryant Museum and the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.
He was honored with unveilings at Chelsea Piers in NYC, the MGM Grand and Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, and Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
But enough about the legend. I want to share some thoughts about the documentary.
The film was a low-budget project with a director that attempted to be artsy near the beginning of the film. Unfortunately, Chris Danielson couldn’t compete against Skipper’s breathtaking art. He would’ve been better off showing more images of Skipper’s original art.
Aside from the cutesy attempts, the opening story intrigued the audience. They wanted to invest more time learning about this man. His life story was as colorful as his artwork. In fact, I could’ve watched him for a few more hours.
Well, except for the third act when the film shifted its focus from Skipper to Dr. Martin Luther King.
While I admire how Dr. King changed our society with his preaching, I wanted to learn more about Skipper. I wanted to learn about how he affected Dr. King’s life—inspiring him to write his “I Have A Dream” speech. That’s right, Skipper facilitated some downtime for Dr. King so he could relax enough to write that speech.
But instead of me learning more about Skipper, the story shifted too far over to Dr. King. The film barely returned its focus to Skipper before the documentary closed out. This unacceptable shift in focus from Skipper soured my delight in director Danielson.
Danielson did capture Skipper’s attempt at explaining how God moves his hand when he paints. I was fascinated by his expression of how the Spirit of God uses him in every stroke.
If you’re interested in hearing a great story about a down-to-earth man touched by God, this is the picture to watch. In spite of the documentary’s faults, it was worth my time. By the end of the film, I too wanted to know how Skipper stays in tune with God’s gentle whisper of art.
The film is currently available on digital media and DVD at Best Buy, Fandango, Apple TV, and Amazon. They also have a version available for church screenings. A discussion guide is also available for group settings and family discussions.
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© 2021 by CJ Powers