Colors of Character
The upcoming documentary Colors of Character: An Artist’s Journey to Redemption shares the extraordinary journey of prolific artist Steve Skipper. With no formal training, Skipper has broken down walls of racism in the world of fine art. God radically saved Skipper when he was a member of a notorious street gang, and immediately his life was transformed. Focused on his new-found faith and his talent for painting, Skipper faithfully seized opportunities that only God could have provided and he quickly began gaining notoriety in the sports world for his meticulous artistic style of super-realism. Now, Skipper is continuing his journey by painting the stories of the pioneers of the Civil Rights movement. Colors of Character shares interviews with key figures in Steve’s life, including sports figures, faith leaders, and civil rights icons; details on his paintings and techniques; and his powerful personal story of redemption.
Steve has been a renowned sports artist for over 30 years. Raised in Rosedale, Ala., near the hotspot of Birmingham, an important setting during the unrest of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Steve’s life has been one of great extremes. He started out with a rough childhood, got heavily involved in selling and using drugs, and then found the Lord. His amazing story includes a testimony in which he injured his hand, only to have the Holy Spirit tell him to paint anyways, and he believes God guided his hand. His success would seem to confirm that belief.
This fascinating documentary features interviews with various people whose lives have crossed Steve’s path, as well as several scenes of his incredible artwork, artwork which features football players, Tiger Woods, and even an amazing portrait of Christ, crowned with thorns, a red robe, and blood on His body.
Steve shares how his mother’s infidelity set his life on a slippery course. He saw her with a man other than his father and it cut him to the core. Later, he became involved with the Crips, a street gang which practiced violence. Steve eventually became a gang leader, using and selling drugs. However, a big man named Mike boldly witnessed to Steve and invited him to church, and evangelist Jesse L. Mincey got through to Steve and the Lord gloriously saved him and transformed his life completely.
Colors of Character includes archival footage which shows a bit of the violence during the civil rights movement, Selma, “Bloody Sunday”, and audio and video snippets of Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, it features a segment on President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the voting rights act into law.
Steve is prominently featured and shares wonderful insights such as, “The Spirit of God comes into the studio and enables me to do everything that I do — that’s the most important part of it.” He goes on to tell how he receives lots of calls for his talent and many requests for prints of his work — this is in contrast to his early days as a starving artist.
Don Keith, author of Dream On shares how he met the artist in person. Gene Hallman, CEO of Bruno Event Team states that “sporting events are very visual in nature,” and Steve has captured iconic moments in time. All this by an artist who never was formally trained! But the gift was undeniable in Steven Skipper. Eric Fears, a social impact strategist, says Steve is an “incredible artist” and does “breathtaking art.” Edgar Welden, chairman of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, has known Steve for over 25 years and personally owns several pieces of his work. “I’m a fan,” he unashamedly remarks.
Steve was honored when asked by Mayor William A. Bell of the city of Birmingham to paint a commemorative 50th Anniversary painting of the civil rights movement. Civil rights leader Andrew Young states that, “Steve gets the spirituality of the movement.” Super Bowl XXII Most Valuable Player Doug Williams speaks of Steve’s variety in his work, which includes family, sports, civil rights, and religion. Pastor Mincey says the Lord spoke to his heart that Steve would be used as a vessel for “posterity.”
Colors of Character is a remarkable, quality documentary. Though the gang/drug references and violent clips from the civil rights movement aren’t for a younger audience, Steve’s testimony of Jesus’ faithfulness earns this film Dove-approval for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
In this powerful documentary, Jesus uses a talented sports artist to illustrate what He can do through any willing man or woman, boy or girl.