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News > Collegians > Opportunities do not happen by themselves

Opportunities do not happen by themselves

Earlier this year, Gary Schofield (Hall 1970 - 1974) was contacted by the United States Air Force commissioning a 75-year commemorative painting (1948 – 2023).
18 Jul 2023
Collegians

Gary, a writer, television producer, artist, composer and musician, previously painted the ‘Pentagon Full Honours Ceremony’ for display in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. Prints of the art are presented to the USA’s militarily allied countries. Gary also painted the ‘Pentagon September The 11th’ and the ‘Congressional Medal of Honour’ paintings for the Pentagon.

The president of the US Air Force Honour Guard had seen Gary’s paintings at the Pentagon, some of which are square metres in size, and requested that Gary paint the 75th commemorative piece. Gary says, “The Chief of Operations wanted a painting to reflect diversity.” Gary had female Airman First Class Norwood (centre left) and the Airman First Class of the Honour Guard Drill Team pose to make it possible for Gary to include diversity in the painting.

“I chose the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team as the central theme. Yes, they really do throw those bayonets into the air and at each other in a spectacular and breath-taking display.” Each individual in the painting is an accurate depiction of a particular Air Force Airman and Airman First Class Norwood. The background is Mount Rushmore, the plane is a Raptor F22 and the USAF icon, on the left, is from 1948.

“It took me years to realise that we know and remember great works of art because of where they are; they are in important, usually royal or governmental, collections and make a great statement for your creativity.”

Gary has a great piece of advice. “Life does not come to you and offer you wonderful commissions and opportunities. You have to tirelessly and relentlessly (amid much rejection) seek those out for yourself. In my case, this commission actually began decades ago when I was signing my work at the Pentagon. I had written on the battle of Iwo Jima from the New Zealand perspective of Gallipoli and created my Iwo Jima painting and prints. Navy Captain Dorothy E Schott, USN, as if in a Hollywood movie, took me to the US Secretary of Defence’s Office and said, ‘We have found the man we have been looking for,’ to work on International Preventive Defence, a Clinton era military policy that utilised international diplomacy.”

In June 2023, Gary attended the US Air Force ceremony where his artwork was unveiled, and he was joined by the artist who created the Air Force Memorial in Washington DC. Command Chief Master Sergeant Timothy Dickens (in the centre of the painting) was also in attendance. An Air Force administration building will be named in his honour which is a very rare occurrence to have anything named after a living person.

Gary divides his time between New Zealand and the United States, and is a valued member of the Collegians Committee. 

To view more of Gary's work in the St Paul's Art Collection, click here

 

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