The website of writer, drawer and filmmaker John Mollison
I found that spending time around “old people” — specifically ones that have survived war’s crucible — helped me learn priceless things about business, family, community, country…and the world.
As a little boy, I drew WWII airplanes on our kitchen table, captivated by the lore of aerial combat. So many years later, as an executive hungry for better ways to succeed, I got to meet the very pilots who powered my crayons. Today, I am surrounded by men and women who temper their incredible experiences with the practical wisdom that comes from “life.”
Today, my art is in galleries/museums/collections in at least 14 countries, my blog is read by thousands every month and films have earned acclaim world-wide.
One of my drawings is to the right —> the story behind it is pretty cool.
There are many better writers, artists, Ph.Ds, philosophers… but I like to believe that I make up for the difference with a desire to make History relevant to anyone, anywhere, any time.
I’m not particularly a fan of war. I’m not even “military.” But after spending time with combat veterans, have an understanding of why we fight, serve, live and ultimately, die.
My blog is where I post my art, write about the stories, share (often) unpublished photos/artifacts… it’s been called “Thought provoking history porn.” I’m not sure what I think of that description but it resonates with people. Hmmm. Click here (for blog).
I am the host of “Old Guys and Their Airplanes. ” It’s a video series that’s been broadcast on PBS stations in America, Premiere’d at museums worldwide and on-demand throughout the universe on Vimeo. Click here.
History is the most important “thing” we can teach the next generation. I will argue that History/Civics/Social Studies are more important to the community than STEM.
But, giving History its due requires extraordinary qualities: intelligence, passion, optimism, open-mindedness…it’s far simpler to teach quantum physics than it is to discuss America’s involvement in Vietnam.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” I like to think, “History is nutritious. Dig in and learn!”
COUNTRIES DISPLAYED (art)
I write, I draw, I make films…about old combat vets.
Really, I’m a writer (who draws).
My mom gave me crayons. My teachers gave me pencils. My dad gave me an airbrush. I bought my own damn brushes and paints. But Steve Jobs gave me the Macintosh. And thank Gawd for Xerox and Indigo for allowing me to ‘go-to-press’ quickly and sweetly.
If I had a dime for every time someone said, “Boy, I wish I could be a fly in the room when you meet…” I’d have a PILE of dimes. My films with the “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” team are simply a way to honor that.
…well over 130 pilots and aircrew from WWII, the Korean War, Cold War and Vietnam War. The majority of these interviews are multiple visits/contacts, some comprising years. If you want a list, you can either wait for my book or ask me. 🙂 But, some of the more historically notable are Medal of Honor recipients Joe Foss and Leo Thorsness, Bob Pardo of “The Push,” WWII ace Don Bryan, Linebacker II Air Force Cross recipient “Russ” McCarthy, North Vietnamese aces Nguyen Duc Soat and Nguyen Van Bay, ex-POWs Chris Morgan, Bruce Olmstead, Gerald Brown, Charlie Plumb, Gene Smith…
“I’m writing a book.” Seriously. Want it? Take a number. I’m not going to ruin it by rushing though. Every new relationship I strike turns into a fiercer reason to stay the course and learn what these people, these moments and their conclusions mean to the rest of us. If you want a sample though, why not have me speak to your group?
As for my art, I use pencils, pens and my computer. But if the restaurant is the kind that covers their table with paper and offers crayons, I’m IN.
The stories and legends that make History so nutritious find a terrific home in the classroom. To this end, OGTA works to create Educator’s Kits (that work with common curriculum) for teachers to use.