MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Military life is known to come with change and re-locations, however for Senior Airman Dustin Pace, this change has fueled his passion for the arts.
Pace is a 6th Maintenance Squadron metals technician by day and an art collector by night. His interest in the arts began with his childhood and evolved as he pursued a career in the military.
“My interests in the arts all started with my mother,” Pace said. “She wrote poetry all the time when I was growing up. She would help me with writing assignments in school, and I’d get a glimpse of her style.”
As Pace grew, his passion for art developed into an outlet to share his emotions, work, ideas and perspective with those around him, connecting him with a community of like-minded individuals.
“Art helped me to meet people with similar interests,” Pace said. “For people in the art community, sharing art is almost like playing in a band. We each have individual styles and whenever we share projects it’s like a collaboration by playing different instruments.”
Pace explained that the story behind a piece of art is a major factor that sparked his interest in starting an art collection.
“What makes me so passionate is how noble of a craft it is,” he said. “You’re doing it with your own hands, you’re creating it. Owning that piece [of art] is so special because it doesn’t exist anywhere else in this world.”
Throughout Pace’s military career, he has had several overseas assignments, being stationed in Turkey, Guam, England and Japan. Pace embraced the change as an opportunity to experience different cultures, finding their stories through their art.
Collecting art became a way for Pace to connect and embrace his journey through the military. For each location he visits or is stationed, he collects a new piece to remind himself of the culture that he’d experienced.
Pace even incorporated his passion into his work as a metals technician, putting the same dedication into each project as an artist would in their work.
“Each component I create [for the KC-135] is uniquely vital to our success, so I put all I’ve got into its development,” said Pace. “I treat each project, each component like a piece of art, like that one piece is telling my story as a technician.”
Pace’s passion for art has allowed him to better connect with his military journey and the cultures of which he’s been intertwined. He takes the precision and dedication that he’s learned as an artist and puts it into his career as a metals technician, utilizing every project as an opportunity to grow and develop as a craftsman.