As a Navy sailor aboard an aircraft carrier, Brodrick Antoine never dreamed that his passion for art would become a rewarding side hustle, and that he would be able to create an art program for the Navy. By the age of six, Antoine knew wanted to explore art. He began by drawing cartoons and copying pictures out of magazines in pencil, his original medium. Although his family wasn’t especially artistic, his talent stood out from a young age, and during high school he attended a school for the arts, where he had the opportunity to explore other mediums, like painting with acrylics and oils, photography, woodshop, pastels, and so much more.
His wife Nikki studied ballet there, for which she still has a passion, and that’s where their love story began. They now have two adorable children; son Sydney is seven and is already showing artistic promise, grabbing paper and pencil to sketch along with dad. Little Stella is a cutie and was fascinated with my camera during our interview. I saw this talented artist’s graphite portrait of Manny Machado posted on social media and I was intrigued as other Coronado residents posted portraits they had commissioned of Fernando Tatis Jr. and others. Antoine’s very favorite creations are the portraits of his children that he did in May for the Coronado Arts summer exhibition, “Heads Up,” at the C3 Gallery, located in the Coronado Community Center, which runs through August, along with 22 other featured artists’ collection of incredible portraits.
Antoine is currently an Engineer Operator on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. He hadn’t done many portraits before joining the Navy, but when he completed a graphite sketch of he and his wife to send as a gift while on deployment, his shipmates took notice and were impressed. Word traveled fast, and soon he had numerous requests for portraits.
Demand has grown over the past few years, and he has now completed several hundred portraits. This has become a good side gig and he has even done portraits for some well-known people. A portrait of D.L. Hughley, best known as one of the “Big Four” comedians in The Original Kings of Comedy, got noticed by Hughley who posted it and invited Antoine to his show. From there, music superstar Usher saw it and invited Antoine to his Las Vegas show, where Antoine gifted him a portrait. He also completed a five-piece family collection for comedian Leslie Jones, as well as several football stars, including Green Bay Packer’s Preston Smith. Murals have also been commissioned, the largest of which is a basketball mural in Virginia Beach.
As an outlet for himself and his shipmates, Antoine started teaching art classes on the USS Abraham Lincoln. While he continues to hone his craft, he enjoys meeting other talented artists on the ship. A new adventure he’s embarking on is creating an art program for the Navy, called PAC, the Prestigious Arts Committee, where they will paint murals to liven up ships in different areas, like the entry and hangar bays. The first mural design for the mess deck that he implemented was just approved by his captain and will be of President Lincoln, surrounded by airplanes, with the caption “Lincoln Nation.” The color scheme will be black and white, with colorful accents. Antoine noted that some other ships have murals, but his doesn’t, so this will be the first of several planned.
“The Navy has a variety of other extracurricular activities, like band and sports, and we hope that introducing an art program will be an additional way to raise morale and camaraderie. The goal is to help get a variety of artists involved and identify potential projects and art grants,“ he comments.
Born in New Orleans, Antoine is enjoying his time here and with the Navy, which has opened up his horizons. He enjoys travelling the world, highlighting Dubai and Singapore as two of his most memorable places to visit and see art. Next on his art bucket list is experimenting with airbrushing.
You can find his portraits at the C3 Gallery in the Coronado Community Center through August and on Instagram @brodrickantoine. For more information, contact him at [email protected] or at 504-419-9437.