One member of the United States Air Force is taking his passion for painting to new heights.
Darby Perrin, who is an aerial refueling specialist and boom operator, unveiled one of his paintings for the first time at the Museum of Aviation.
The painting depicts the fire that struck the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas in 1980. More than 80 people were killed and 700 were injured.
The museum’s HH-3E helicopter, the Jolly Green Giant, was one of the helicopters that lifted people to safety.
Perrin said he started painting as a kid, and from there, his talent grew.
“These are stories that, a lot of times, you may never hear about them in any other place,” Perrin said. “So for me to have my hand in, and being able to document a little bit of this through art, it’s wonderful.”
Perrin said this is not his favorite piece because he struggled with the angles. He said he even downloaded thousands of photos, and tried to recreate the scene with a model in his studio.
“This was a very difficult project,” Perrin said. “To get the response that I’ve gotten from it, it makes me feel a lot better. There was a lot of self-doubt there.”
The painting will go on to be displayed at the Pentagon.