GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Everything about Austin Boyd’s classroom, screams art.
For the last nine years, it has been his passion. “Their success inspires me to come back every day and enjoy my work.”
That work has been tested lately, specifically his portrait of President Donald Trump draped in an American flag.
“It has nothing to do with politics or beliefs. It was just an art project and we were just trying to get a response from some of these celebrities and we’ve gotten a few so far.”
Including a letter from President Trump himself. “Two weeks ago I got this and that’s when all the hoopla started,” says Boyd as he pulls out a letter from the White House.
What was a point of pride for the school system quickly changed once the pictures were posted to social media.
“Hey man, they are dog cussing you and your painting.”
The school system’s Facebook page was bombarded with negative comments that were quickly deleted.
“A lot of them are like how can the school and the county allow a teacher to paint President Trump who is a bigot and a racist and all that stuff and I was like oh my gosh, really?”
At first, he says he was shocked, then angry but now, “It’s crazy, it’s great, it’s ludicrous, it’s everything. It’s just like art you know and that’s the beauty of it.”
It also provided a teachable moment for his students – how to handle criticism.
This isn’t the first portrait like this that Boyd has done. Some of his other subjects have included President Barack Obama, Ellen Degeneres and Kid Rock.