George Lucas’s latest movie, Red Tails, opens today Jan. 20. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., it focuses on a crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program who faced segregation and were kept mostly on the ground during World War II until called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.
Artist Robert Bailey met with Lucas at Skywalker Ranch three years ago, and Lucas used some of these scenes in the eleven different print titles that Bailey produced, signed by the Tuskegee pilots and grounds crews. Bailey has had the distinct honour of working directly with living Tuskegee Airmen in recreating their true historical experiences on canvas. Through years of collaboration, Robert now hosts the world’s largest selection of Tuskegee signed limited edition prints.
Red Tail Pass (shown above) is a limited edition print, and includes twelve original signatures of the Tuskegee airmen, in pencil.
Robert Bailey and his wife Michelle have attended many Tuskegee reunion conventions in order to obtain signatures for prints. This process involved renting a ballroom in the same hotel where the convention was being held, and then spending many hours on the phone going through lists of pilots who would be available on that particular day.
The Tuskegee Airmen graciously put aside their busy schedule at such events in order to wade through the hundreds of lithographs that were ready and stacked for their pencil autographs. Collectors highly prize not only the penciled autographs, but the fact that Tuskegee Airmen have actually handled each individual print.
About the Artist: Robert Bailey is an artist from Canada whose war art and aviation prints have been purchased and acclaimed around the world. He was born and raised in Staffordshire, England and attended Longton College of Art. For years he was in television as a photographer and show host, then in newspapers as a designer, photographer and writer. He has been drawing and painting since he was four years of age. He says that he was “sidetracked” into television and newspaper careers before realizing his dream of becoming an aviation artist. Now residing in Alberta, many of his WWII prints are hanging in numerous museums, legions and Armed Forces buildings worldwide, including the US Pentagon.