News>Feature - ACC artist wins Hampton Bay Days poster competition
Bryan Lopatic, a U.S. Air Force supervisory illustrator and Air Combat Command Multimedia Center section chief, autographs a copy of his winning poster for festival patrons Ralph and Tina Roberts at the 30th Annual Hampton Bay Days festival in Hampton, Va., Sept. 8, 2012. As the festival’s winner, Lopatic was awarded free booth space to sell his artwork and sign limited edition copies of the poster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez/Released)
Bryan Lopatic, a U.S. Air Force supervisory illustrator and Air Combat Command Multimedia Center section chief, creates artwork for visitors at the 30th Annual Hampton Bay Days festival in Hampton, Va., Sept. 8, 2012. Lopatic, the festival’s poster contest winner, uses spray-paint as the primary medium in a style called aerosolgrafia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez/Released)
Bryan Lopatic, a U.S. Air Force supervisory illustrator and Air Combat Command Multimedia Center section chief, reveals to festival patrons 10 hidden “30s” placed within his winning poster design, at the 30th Hampton Bay Days festival in Hampton, Va., Sept. 8, 2012. Lopatic placed the number within the poster design to commemorate the festival’s anniversary, which began in 1982. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez/Released)
Bryan Lopatic, the 30th annual Hampton Bay Days festival poster contest winner, uses booths to display, sell and create his artwork in Hampton, Va., Sept. 8, 2012. Lopatic, a U.S. Air Force supervisory illustrator, uses mediums such as ground metal, airbrush and spray-paint to create his art. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez/Released)
by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez
Air Combat Command Public Affairs
9/12/2012 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- As he sprayed, splattered and smudged, the smell of spray-paint filled the 87-degree air, and a crowd gathered to see what he was creating. "Oohs" and "aahs" accompanied the image that unfolded before their eyes, until the final product emerged as a colorful mix of planets and stars.
Scenes similar to this one took place Sept. 7-9, as the 30th Annual Hampton Bay Days poster competition winner and Air Force illustrator, Bryan Lopatic, created original works of art at Hampton, Va.'s, largest festival of the year.
Hampton Bay Days educates the public on conservation awareness for the Chesapeake Bay and the local area.
The Air Force veteran won the poster competition by merging his passions of art and conservation into a detailed watercolor poster of Hampton City resting above a deep blue Chesapeake Bay full of local wildlife.
"Anything that deals with wildlife is very important and inspires me; therefore, it's a good matchup. It's the first time I entered the contest, and I happened to win," said Lopatic, Air Combat Command Multimedia Center section chief.
As winner of the contest, Lopatic received $250, a free booth at the festival and 50 percent of the proceeds made from auctioning the original poster artwork; the poster sold for $750.
Lopatic entered the competition to improve as an artist, which led to the use of mediums, such as ground metal, airbrush, and watercolor. He displayed his art in a mixture these mediums at the festival, gaining the attention of spectators. Some of which, seek out the poster contest winners.
"We come every year to look at the posters," said Tina Roberts, a festival visitor with her husband. "This has grown into a tradition for us."
Lopatic's interest in art showed at the age of 10, when he began drawing pictures of his heroes, Evel Knievel and Bruce Lee. This led to a career as an Air Force illustrator, which began in 1980. Eager to take advantage of the educational benefits the Air Force offered, he earned two associate degrees and one bachelor's degree. A few years after retirement in 1995, he continued his service with the Air Force, moving to ACC as a civilian illustrator.
"I've been an artist all my life, and the Air Force has helped me out tremendously," Lopatic said. "I love [being an artist] and consider myself very lucky and appreciative that I've been able to do it this long."
Dedicated to continue his growth as an artist, Lopatic has set his sights on another competition: 2013 East Coast Surfing Championship.
"I'm going to try and enter the ECSC next year," he said. "The winning design will be placed on t-shirts, posters and advertising. I'm going to keep it on my radar."