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PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release Thursday, May 5, 2016
CONTACT: Roy L. Williams, Director of Public Relations    
Birmingham Public Library                                               
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                                                        
E-mail: rlwilliams@bham.lib.al.us             
                
Artist Steve Skipper donating Selma 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday painting to Powderly Library

BIRMINGHAM, AL-Steve R. Skipper, a Homewood native whose celebrity clients include University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, is donating to the Birmingham Public Library a new limited edition painting of the historic civil rights event known as Bloody Sunday.

The painting, called “DNA Ingrained,” includes scenes of the attack on civil rights marchers crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and pays tribute to heroes in the movement and trailblazers including President Barack Obama. Skipper will hang the painting, one of only 250 prints being made, at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, Thursday, May 5,  2016, at the Powderly Branch Library, 3301 Jefferson Avenue SW.

The painting will also hang in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.  “DNA Ingrained” has received many endorsements, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who suffered severe head injuries when attacked on Bloody Sunday, and comedian Bill Cosby.

 Skipper, who has pieces among Cosby’s personal art collection, said Cosby is the one who gave him the painting title, “DNA Ingrained,” which means “The DNA of our ancestors is engrained in the concrete on Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Skipper said after hearing about the making of the movie Selma, which received an Academy Award nomination for best picture this year, he was inspired to artistically preserve the images of Bloody Sunday on canvas “to give everlasting visual honor to those who paid full price for our right to vote and be productive members of the American experience and society.”

Upon doing his research, Skipper found no artwork existed to give the Bloody Sunday marchers the just due honor that he felt they deserved.

“The many miles put in by the foot soldiers, the cracked skulls from the black jacks, the pounding hooves of the horses and the and eyes burning by the tear gas deserved my best, and many hours of detailed and intricate excellence which matched the commitment of excellence that they exhibited in the quest for freedom,” Skipper said.
Skipper began his photographic and informational research and received his concept and composition from God. He recalled upon on his first drive down to Selma to meet with the city’s mayor being overwhelmed with inspiration by the sight of Edmund Pettus Bridge and how he felt the spirit remaining of what happened there.

“Thinking that God had given me everything that I needed, I would then be blown away and pleasantly surprised by a word that would come from a brilliant source,” Skipper said. “Mr. Bill Cosby would hear of my coming creation and infuse me with an inspiration which would send me into our ancestral atmosphere. He would send me a message saying for me to focus on the fact that the DNA of our ancestors had been ingrained in the concrete and steel of the bridge. When I heard what he said, God began to show me what he said.”

Skipper then put those visual images in his head on the painting. As he looked at Edmund Pettus Bridge, he drew on the left side of the sky above the conflict, confrontation as well as the instigators. He wanted to show the overwhelming brutality of the Alabama State Troopers and the powerful force added by the horses.
“Their power and beauty used as an ugly weapon meant to physically beat down the will and physical being of people seeking equality and opportunity, under the hooves of 2,000 pounds of animal and in the face of the ultimate in police brutality and legalized tear gas,” Skipper said. “On the right I would carefully use several portraits of the price payers-- the icons who dared to step out of obscurity and into the light of Christ reining through his own suffering.”

Skipper then painted in order which would tell the story and legacy of this rich movement. First,  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the way in the midst of the danger with other icons following. Then further right with other icons in the movement as well as those who sacrificed physically and financially to make sure the movement was paid in blood and cash.

Leading the way would be Annie Lee Cooper, then Amelia Boynton Robinson, Coretta Scott King, Dr. CT Vivian, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Young, Dick Gregory, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Height, Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby, Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell (a Selma native and first black woman from Alabama to serve in Congress), President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelo.

Oprah Winfrey was honored for her involvement in helping make the movie “Selma” come to fruition, Maya Angelo for her poetry, involvement in the Movement and “her inspiration and instruction to Oprah to give the movie everything she had.”

“I would do all of these portraits in detailed form of realism mixed with figuration - melting then in to the color of the sky and forms of the clouds. I would then place a sparrow in the trees in realistic form and color to the far right to symbolize the words of the old hymn "His Eye Is On The Sparrow and I Know He Watches Me".

“God’s eyes saw everything that happened and Bloody Sunday which caused his heart to be touched and his wisdom and power sent to turn the tide of resistance,” Skipper said. “My mind would then go back to the word from Mr. Cosby - The DNA Ingrained. I would then show trickles of blood coming down three different pillars of the bridge foundation, flowing into the water below.”

The painting also has in the water detailed figuration portraits of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act with other members of Congress, Dr. King and former Presidents of the SCLC  Howard Creesy, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Abraham Woods and current President Dr. Charles Steele Jr.
“All are forever submerged and baptized in the payoff of the price paid on Bloody Sunday,” Skipper said. “I started with the intention to pay the price in a painstaking and intricately detailed masterwork in oils that would give just due homage and honor to all those involved. There's no way to include every single person in a work of art. Someone will always be left out artistically, yet never in spirit and in truth.  So the movement itself and all involved supersedes all included and not in a single piece of artwork.”

Artist: Steve Skipper
Website:  anointedhomesart.com
The DNA Ingrained Painting Synopsis

After hearing about the making of the movie Selma, I was inspired to no end to artistically preserve the images of Bloody Sunday on canvas. To give everlasting visual honor to those who paid full price for our right to vote and be productive members of the American experience and society. I started to research and found no Artwork which gave the Ancestors the just due honor that I felt that they deserved. The many miles put in by the foot soldiers, the cracked skulls from the black jacks, the pounding hooves of the horses and the and eyes burning by the tear gas deserved my best and many hours of detailed and intricate excellence which matched the commitment of excellence that they exhibited in the quest for freedom. I would start my photographic and informational research and receive my concept and composition from God. I would then travel to Selma to be overwhelmed with inspiration by the sight and remaining spirit of what happened there. Thinking that God had given me everything that I needed I would then be blown away and pleasantly surprised by a word that would come from a brilliant source. Mr. Bill Cosby would hear of my coming creation and infuse me with an inspiration which would send me into our Ancestral atmosphere. He would send me a message saying for me to focus on the fact that the DNA of our Ancestors had been ingrained in the concrete and steel of the bridge. When I heard what he said God began to show me what he said. As I looked at the bridge I would see on the left side of the sky above the conflict, confrontation as well as the instigators thereof. I wanted to show the overwhelming brutality of the Troopers and the powerful force added by the horses. Their power and beauty used as an ugly weapon meant to physically beat down the will and physical being of people seeking equality and opportunity. Under the hooves of two thousand pounds of animal and in the face of the ultimate in police brutality and legalized tear gas. On the right I would carefully use several portraits of the price payers. The icons who dared to step out of obscurity and into the light of Christ reining through his own suffering. An order which would tell the story and legacy of this rich movement. First with Dr. King leading the way in the midst of the danger with other icons following. Then further right with other icons in the movement as well as those who sacrificed physically and financially to make sure the Movement was paid in blood and cash. Leading the way would be Annie Lee Cooper, then Amelia Boynton Robinson, Coretta Scott King, Dr. CT Vivian, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Young, Dick Gregory, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Height, Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Mya Angelo. Oprah Winfrey for her inclusion in the movie SELMA. Mya for her involvement in the Movement and her inspiration and instruction to Oprah to give the movie everything she had. I would do all of these portraits in detailed form of realism mixed with figuration. Melting then in to the color of the sky and forms of the clouds. I would then place a sparrow in the trees in realistic form and color to the far right to symbolize the words of the old hymn "His Eye Is On The Sparrow and I Know He Watches Me". Gods eyes saw everything that happened and Bloody Sunday which caused his heart to be touched and his wisdom and power sent to turn the tide of resistance. My mind would then go back to the word from Mr. Cosby. "The DNA Ingrained" ! I would then show trickles of blood coming down three different pillars of the bridge foundation. Flowing into the water below. Now in the water I would show detailed figuration portraits of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act with other members of Congress, Dr. King and former Presidents of the SCLC. Howard Creesy, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Abraham Woods and current President Dr. Charles Steele Jr. All forever submerged and baptized in the payoff of the price paid on Bloody Sunday. I started with the intention to pay the price in a painstaking and intricately detailed masterwork in Oils that would give just due homage and honor to all those involved. There's no way to include every single person in a work of Art. Someone will always be left our Artistically yet never in spirit and in truth. Space on the canvas is never big enough and time never long enough to tell the magnificence of it all.  So the Movement itself and all involved supersedes all included and not in a single piece of Artwork. As we continue our process we endeavor to complete this project with a Reproduction in Gicle'e and Lithography which will provide the international public with an exquisite Artistic heirloom which will forever honor, for ever inspire and consistently appreciate in the value of a proven work of Fine Art.

Steve R. Skipper/Artist
Steve R. Skipper Bio
 
P.O. Box 610363 Birmingham, Al. 35261    205-253-6360
 
Born in the  Rosedale community in Homewood, Steve R. Skipper is the youngest son of Johnnie and Elnora Skipper. Having no formal training in art, he gives all honor and glory for his gift to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He also credits his deep love for his older brother Don as the one who inspired him to draw, but becoming a Christian in 1976 ignited the gift into a business and fine art publishing company  known as Anointed Homes Art.
 
Skipper is the first African-American artist to do sanctioned and officially licensed artwork for the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the Dallas Cowboys, NASCAR, the Professional Bull Riders, the PGA, and the Washington Redskins. He was personally chosen by University of Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban to enter into contract with him as official and endorsed artist for his National Championship Commemorative Paintings and Limited Editions.  
 
Skipper’s celebrity clients also include the Davey Allison Estate, Bobby Allison Enterprises, Coach Ray Perkins, the late Alabama and NFL great Derrick Thomas, the late Earl Woods, Jim Dent, Hale Irwin, Ozzie Newsome, Nick Saban, Tommy Tubberville, Doug Williams, Michael Vick and the Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Witten. His work is also included in the fine art collections of George Landegger of New York and famed comedian Bill Cosby, nd has been featured  in The MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  

Skipper’s work is also collected internationally and is featured on permanent display at the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa, the Eddie G. Robinson Museum, the Lousiana Sports Hall of Fame, Auburn University’s Lovelace Museum, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
 
His work has been featured and sold on the QVC Network and in partnership with the Collegiate Licensing Company with  the University of Alabama along with the Crimson Tide Network and Auburn University. He has also entered into partnership Agreement with Dallas Cowboys Merchandising in their stadium store at Cowboys Stadium as well as team stores around the state of Texas.  Recently, Skipper  was selected by the Gene Stallings Family to do a limited edition painting featuring their late son John Mark. Tamily of the legendary Grambling State Head Football Coach Eddie G. Robinson also has commissioned Skipper to do a painting of the late coach.
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