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The Stone Throwers:
A Man-Hunt For Vietnam War Draft Evaders

Ernie Barnes.

I had not heard of this amazing actor, author, footballer and artist until the exhibit of his work opened at The Ansin Family Art Gallery at Miramar Cultural Center. Ernie grew-up in segregated Durham, North Carolina and graduated high school with twenty-six athletic scholarships! In 1960 he was six foot three inches tall and weighed 255 pounds. The National Football League drafted him to the Baltimore Colts. He played football for the San Diego Chargers (1960-1962) Denver Broncos (1963-1964), New York Titans (later renamed the Jets) and a Canadian team. Washington Red Skins renounced him after discovering that he was a negro! He was fined $100 (the painting later sold for $1,000) by the Denver Bronco's coach for sketching during team meetings. When he was with the Baltimore Colts he brought his painting 'The Bench' to the training camp, he would not sell the painting. His wife presented it to 'Pro Football Hall of Fame' in Canton, Ohio.

He was the sports artist for the 1984 Olympic Games, and was named 'Sports Artist of the Year' in 1985 by US Sports Academy. His teammates nicknamed him "Big Rembrandt" - he shared the same birthday as Rembrandt. He sold his first painting 'Slow Dance' to Boston Celtic player Sam Jones. Sadly it was lost in a fire at Jones' home. 'Fastbreak' was painted by Ernie in 1987 for the Los Angeles Lakers when they became world champions basket ball players. Kanya West commissioned him to paint a picture ('A Life Restored') to depict his life-changing experience following a near fatal car crash in 2005. Ernie Barnes is known for his elongated figures and he always painted faces with their eyes closed. His painting 'The Sugar Shack' was interpreted in dance for the March 25th 1983 'Yesterday, Today, Forever' television anniversary special. Michael Jackson introduced his famous "Moonwalk" on that show. The painting is owned by Jim & Jeannie Epstein and is on display at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

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