2021 – 2022  Art Contest Winning Entries

Theme: “Marines in Flight”

Annual art contest gives students a platform to express their artistic and creative skills as they learn about U.S. and aviation history and the contributions, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who designed, built, flew and maintained these iconic aircraft.  The time and effort students put into their entries was evident, making selection of  winners difficult.


High School Division

“Feather and Fuselage”

Artist: Erin Moeller, Grade 9, Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego

1st Place-High School Division, 2021-2022  Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media:  Watercolor

Artistic Inspiration:

My main inspiration for this piece was that Harriers can take off vertically on a runway, making them very adaptable.

My secondary inspiration for the rest of the piece was the chance to display nature next to its descendants, given how much birds inspired planes.


“”Trailblazing Through Clouds”

Artist: Kaitlyn Ma, Grade 9, Rancho Buena Vista High School, Vista

2nd Place-High School Division, 2021-2022 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Oil Pastel

Artistic Inspiration:

Upon doing research, I discovered that Vernice Armour was the first female African American Marine Corps aviator. I chose to focus on this trailblazer, and incorporated various elements connecting to her service in my piece, her aircraft, the AH-1W Cobra, is the main subject, and her unit, HMLA-169, is also shown.

Additionally, I wanted to depict the maritime basis of the Marine Corps, while also including flight, which provided the background.

“Legacy of the Red Devil”

Artist: Avery Laws, Grade 12, La Costa Canyon High School, Carlsbad

3rd Place-High School Division, 2021-2022 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Oil on Canvas

Artistic Inspiration:

My inspiration for this piece is that the Red Devils Squadron is the oldest and most decorated in the Marine Corps. It was also stated at the Naval Air Station in San Diego, honoring the long history of San Diego’s military.

Along with my inspiration for this piece being driven from the long history of the squadron, my passion for this piece is due to my father having flown for the squadron from 98′ to 2001.  Throughout my life I have grown up admiring the plaques and models from the planes and squadrons that he has flown in.  But the Red Devils always interested me the most with the bright red painted all across the jet and having grown up being taken almost every year to the Miramar Air Show since moving to San Diego.  Always having spent the most time waiting for my father to be done talking to the new generation of Red Devil pilots in the booth.

My appreciation for the Marine Corps and fighter pilots continues to grow the more I learn.  This also is due to the fact that my parents met at the El Toro Air Show when my father was flying for another squadron.




Middle School Division

“On a Mission to Defend America’s Honor”

Artist: Yi Cai, Grade 8, West California Academy
of Art and Design, San Gabriel

1st Place, Middle School Division, 2021-2022 Student Art Contest

Media: Markers and Colored Pencils

Artistic Inspiration:

My inspiration is the heroism of the Marines.



“Fly to your Dreams!”

Artist: Izaac Willis, Grade 8, Twin Peaks Middle School, Poway

2nd Place-Middle School Division, 2021-2022 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Watercolor

Artistic Inspiration: 

It was first just an extra credit assignment, but then it became my favorite project. Till next year…… The inspiration is that everyone starts at rock bottom and can shoot their way up to the stars!



“Air Stunt”

Artist:  Dylan Berti, Grade 8, Twin Peaks Middle School, Poway

3rd Place-Middle School Division, 2021-2022 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media Used: Sharpie, Colored Pencil, Marker

Artistic Inspiration:

Aviators, military, scenery, and parts for an airplane, mixed with street art style.


Thank You to  Art Contest Donors and Judges

The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation gratefully acknowledges the financial support of its education program provided by the late WW2 pilot,  Major Glenn Ferguson (USMC-retired).

We were fortunate to have as judges three nationally recognized professional artists and illustrators: Gary Johnson, Lee Kromshroeder, and Dale Mann. We gratefully acknowledge the time and expertise they contributed to make the program a success.

2021-2022  Gallery Of Winning Artwork

*click image to see larger version