Commissioned by the Wiley Post Centennial Commission, Southwestern Bell Company, Bob Burke and the Kerr-McGee Corporation
Dimensions: 53 x 41
Dedicated November 1998
Location: Fourth Floor
Wiley Post was from Maysville, Oklahoma, and during the 1930s became one of the world’s most famous pilots. Post, who only had a sixth grade education, was the first pilot to fly solo around the world. He also invented the pressurized flight suit and discovered the jet stream. Post and Will Rogers died in a plane crash over Alaska on August 15, 1935.
Mike Wimmer was commissioned in 1998 to paint a portrait of Oklahoma’s famous aviator, and it was his first commission for the Capitol. The project was funded by The Wiley Post Centennial Commission, Southwestern Bell Company, Bob Burke, and the Kerr-McGee Corporation. The portrait was dedicated in November of 1998, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Post’s birth. The commission was managed by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Mike Wimmer began his career as an artist during the seventh grade. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma, where he met Don Ivan Punchatz. Wimmer later moved to Arlington, Texas, to be Punchatz's apprentice at the famous Sketch Pad Studio. Wimmer learned valuable knowledge regarding the business aspect of illustrating as well as various painting techniques and the working methods of the local Dallas illustrators. After his two and a half year apprenticeship, he moved back to Norman, Oklahoma, and set up his own studio using all that he had learned in Texas.
Since then, Wimmer has become very successful illustrating children’s books such as Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh by Robert Burliegh which was the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children in 1990. He also illustrated All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan which was published in 1994 and won the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book 1995. Wimmer’s book, Will Rogers by Former Governor Frank Keating, was published in 2002 and won the 2003 Spur Award from the Western Writers Association of America. Even though Wimmer has worked for some of the largest corporations in the world including Disney and Procter and Gamble, Wimmer finds the greatest artistic pleasure within his creation of fine art.