News: Marine aircraft maintainer uses artistic talent to motivate
MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. — Marines find various ways to motivate themselves in work and training. Often times, the individuals who make up the Corps use their own methods to help boost the morale of their brothers-in-arms.
Pfc. Coty Thomas, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 powerline mechanic, helps by adding his own artistic flair to his work shop by airbrushing different symbols and meaningful pictures on the interior walls.
“I have been airbrushing for the past four to five years and it’s easy to become lost in my work,” Thomas said. “So far, I’ve painted a few different things for my shop … you won’t see anything like [my work] in any other shop.
“I like it because it’s not something that everyone can do and I take pride in the end result.”
The words “Powerline” are displayed in his staff non-commissioned officer-in-charges’ office with a stylistic design to showcase their pride in the division.
Right outside of the office is an airbrushed rendering of a knight clad in armor with a shield depicting a previous unit mascot. This work of art was completed with the help of Pfc. Frederick Stewart, a VMFA-122 powerline maintenance technician.
“I think it’s pretty cool to do something like this for our unit,” Stewart said. “Everything looks really good and it’s unique to our shop, and it lets me do something for everyone in it.”
Airbrushing can take a lot of time to complete depending on the level of difficulty and effort behind the image. According to Thomas, he can spend more than 15 hours on any given project.
“I could spend hours painting because I’m so focused on finishing once I start,” Thomas said. “I can’t just rush through it because it’s my name going on the work, and I want whoever sees it to think it looks good.
“I always start from a blank slate and have to cut out all the outlines myself, but it’s worth it in the end.”
Recently, Thomas has completed airbrushing a canvas for one of the Marines in his shop as a going away gift and reminder of the effort and work they put in before departing for a new unit.
“Starting is the hardest part, but the last project I finished took [approximately] 22 hours to finish,” Thomas said. “With the free time I had after work I would add as many details as I wanted.
“It’s unfortunate being a perfectionist when you really enjoy something because you can’t allow yourself to make a mistake.”
As Thomas’ artwork catches the eyes of the Marines of his shop, he hopes they appreciate it even after he leaves. His long-term goal, however, is to establish a portfolio of his work for release, but currently is satisfied coming up with military themed airbrushed piecing of art as a hobby.