Veterans Day always an important holiday to Sapphire illustrator Steve Daniels
By Dan Brown / Staff
SAPPHIRE -- Sapphire resident Steve Daniels sees Veterans Day as a special holiday, more than just a day off work.
“I am proud to be a veteran, and proud to be a member of a family of veterans,” Daniels said. “My father served in north Africa during World War II, and then following the end of the war, enlisted in the Navy and served for 35 years with them.”
Daniels is an artist, cartoonist and children’s book author and illustrator, but he is known by many in southern Jackson County for his mural of Lake Glenville on the Glenville Community Center. (For many years, he also had a Cashiers mural on the Crossroads BP, but it was painted over last year.) “I enjoyed having the (Cashiers) mural there while it lasted,” he said. He is also a free-lance editorial cartoonist whose work frequently appears in the Crossroads Chronicle.
Today, Daniels is drawing on his military experience creating realistic concept art for the United States Air Force to re-create battle scenes during past wars, whether to bring some peace of mind and heart, and perhaps some closure for veterans. His paintings are realistic and drawn from anecdotes with veterans.
“I’m doing paintings now that depict historically accurate military missions in honor of the brave men and women that were involved,” Daniels said. “No photos were taken because everyone was concerned more about saving lives than anything else.”
Daniels said he relies on the description of the event given by those that were there at the time and does his best to remain true to the soldiers’ accounts of events.
For example, Daniels re-created a painting of the plane President George H.W. Bush flew as a fighter pilot during World War II.
“When the president first saw the painting, he remarked how real it looked,” Daniels said. “He couldn’t believe the detail. He said, ‘It’s like you’re actually there.’”
Daniels said he invests more time doing research than working on the painting.
“The ‘Vietnam Rescue’ painting was actually done for the guy on the stretcher.”
Before earning a living as an artist, Daniels served as a staff artist in the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
“I could always draw,” Daniels said. “Because I was already making a living as an illustrator and just graduated from a tech school with a diploma in mechanical drafting, I was assigned as staff artist for Tactical Air Command preparing artist concepts of top secret aircraft.”
Daniels served in the USAF from 1966-1970 during the Vietnam War.
Visit his website at https://www.artbythedaniels.com/.
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