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Billy Johnson

Kemp, TX, United States

After graduating from high school, I bounced from construction to painting to roofing jobs. But in 1988, I enlisted in the Army. After completing Boot Camp, I joined the 25th Infantry in Hawaii, as an M60 assistant gunner. I soon married and planned to use my G.I. Bill to study art. But one Memorial Day, while swimming in the Pacific Ocean, I experienced a serious diving accident. I ended up damaging my spinal cord, which left me a quadriplegic. After finishing my medical treatment in Hawaii, I spent another year in rehab in Houston. I started drawing as a kid, but in my adult life, my art gave me a purpose, especially after my accident. My injuries left my dominant left hand useless. So, I taught myself to write and paint with my right hand. My greatest accomplishments came after my military career and catastrophic accident: I helped raise two independent daughters, who both graduated from college. Currently, although I’m in a wheelchair and a single parent, I am also raising a 10-year-old son. I cherish my military experience, and I would strongly urge any young person who needs guidance to consider military service. Even though my military career didn’t go according to my plan, I’m proud to have served my country. I’m equally proud to continue to do my part as an American citizen. God Bless!

Billy's ArtPrize Entries

These are Billy's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.

  • Photo of “Eyes of Courage”

    “Eyes of Courage”

    2021 ArtPrize Entry Billy Johnson
    More Details

Billy's Past Work

These are images of past work that Billy has done.

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