Documentarian Chris Danielson’s Colors of Character: An Artist’s Journey to Redemption is an incredible story about the faith of renowned sports artist Steve Skipper. But it’s more than just faith and sports. It’s a story of hope and triumph for a man who could easily have been thrown away and forgotten.
Skipper grew up on the rough streets of Birmingham, Alabama. Like many kids in the area, Skipper showed great potential in life, but he joined the Crypts for the sake of survival. He proved to be one tough teen and became a feared and effective debt collector for his gang. For members, all roads lead to either prison or death. Skipper was one of the lucky ones to find Christ instead.
“…God would speak to him, taking him down paths that could only be described as steps of faith.”
A Christian friend walked right up to Skipper and told him he needed to turn his life around. This lead to a radically change, and God would speak to him, taking him down paths that could only be described as steps of faith. Right out of high school, Skipper was offered two sports scholarships and a fine arts scholarship. But, God told Steve Skipper he would become an artist and that God would be his teacher, so he turned down those scholarships.
Skipper became a struggling artist, and struggle he did. He wasn’t making much money perfecting his art and had a full-time job to support his family. His first significant work was of the Biblical story of Samson. Halfway through the painting, Skipper’s hand was severely crushed while working his regular job at a cast iron mill. He believed his career as a painter was over, but God had other plans.
His career in sports painting began when he was hired to draw sketches of a local high school’s baseball team, which paid $35 a sketch. That simple job led to more significant ones. Continuing on the subject of struggle, Skipper found it challenging to find work because he was black. Racism ran rampant in the South, and making a living like his white contemporaries was nearly impossible. God came through and opened doors to painting portraits for the University of Alabama, the Dallas Cowboys, the PGA, and NASCAR, to name a few.
"…though his story and walk with God are laid on thick, it's still an inspiring one."