THE COLLECTOR: Pilot Jawara OâConnor

Pilot, Jawara O’Connor has always been inspired by form, space and imagination.  And concurrent to his childhood obsession with flight was a passion for art.  “Flying is about the freedom of movement, and I think art is about the same thing, “ O’Connor explains.  So when he is not jetting across the country as a commercial pilot, he spends time focusing on the arts as a photographer and collector.

Among his prized pieces are his prints by Romare Bearden, “Troy (Fall of Troy)” and “School Bell Time.”  But he learned about buying as child visiting museums with his mother.  O’Connor recalls being taken by the colors and fantasy of Bearden’s works and being required to budget his allowance to buy a poster of “Jamming at the Savoy” from an exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  It took him a couple of weeks to pay off the poster, and now as a collector, O’Connor is still compelled by the same spirit that captured him as a child. 

He recalls, “I was really captured by the energy, the functionality, and the freedom movement in his pieces.  In some ways, Bearden’s works compare to the feeling of beating gravity.” 

O’Connor is also a fan of artists Aaron Douglas and Jacob Lawrence, especially relating to art pieces that connect to his interest in history.  But Bearden remains his favorite. “He mastered so many styles, but with his collages, he takes things you would never imagine combining and turns it into something that makes sense.” He continues, “His art is a lot like Prince’s music in style and range of talent.  Perhaps it has a bit to do with growing up in the 70s and 80s.”