Meet Airplane Artist Sam Lyons


Although Sam’s amazing airplane art speaks for itself, we thought you might like to know some facts about Sam’s background, personal life, quirks, and interests. Here is a snapshot of the artist and the man.

Did you know that Sam ….

  • Has been making a living as an aviation airplane artist for 37 years as of 2022.
  • Is a pilot and has owned two Cubs, a classic Stinson and a Hatz biplane.
  • Was inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in Feb. 2009; and is the first artist to be so honored.

Sam is the official Artist in Residence for SUN ‘n FUN. Lyons Studio has been exhibiting at the International Fly-In and Exhibition for about 25 years.

  • Was inspired by his father, Samuel A. Lyons Sr., who was a B-24 pilot during WWII.
  • Earned a degree in Biology from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.
  • Has a brother, Thomas (or Tommy or Tom) who used to be a professional football player for the Denver Broncos and is now a renowned surgeon. (They are a family of underachievers!)
  • Donates many works of art, both prints and originals, to the military and other worthy causes.
  • Actually owns the 1951 black Chevy Truck he “hides” in all of his paintings.

Sam is a self-taught artist. After mastering the art of model building, he decided to learn how to paint. Aviation was his primary subject matter.

  • Is a true Southern gentleman, born and raised in Atlanta.
  • Actually owns the 1951 black Chevy Truck he “hides” in all of his paintings.
  • Escorted hazardous materials with the Chemical Corps during his two-year stint as an officer in the U.S. Army.
  • Owned a hobby shop for 10 years called Historical Hobbies and honed his model-building skills while running the business.

Sam and Mindy are a team at home and in the Studio. They clean up nicely for occasions like the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame event where Sam was inducted.

This is the patriotic Hatz biplane that Sam and Mindy owned for a short time. Sam came to find out that it wasn’t the ideal plane for a 6′ 3″ pilot!

  • Relocated to Lakeland, Florida in March 2010, with his wife and business partner Mindy and three cats. A major reason for choosing Lakeland was because the SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In was located there.
  • Had careers as an Army officer, a biology teacher, sailboat captain, scuba diver, and hobby shop owner before becoming a full-time artist.
  • Often has to use a brush as thin as a hair in order to paint tiny details so precisely.
  • Thinks that aviation legend Bob Hoover is one of the most down-to-earth people he has ever met.
Sam's Truck

This is Sam’s 1951 Chevy Truck that he “hides” in all of his paintings. He restored this classic truck years ago and he still takes it out for a spin once in a while.

  • Laughs like crazy over the Three Stooges, loves old black-and-white movies, and gets teary eyed during sentimental moments including Hallmark commercials.
  • Spoils his three cats Amelia, Sweetpea and Spunky.
  • Likes to play the harmonica and has two he keeps in his SUV so he can play along with the radio.
  • Can’t stay on dry land too long before the call of scuba diving becomes irresistible.
  • Celebrates his birthday on November 23, which sometimes falls on Thanksgiving.
  • Has won multiple awards for his artwork in a number of nationwide competitions.
Sam and Bob Hoover

Sam did a series of paintings based on Bob Hoover’s aviation feats. He signed the Limited Edition prints with the man himself at a trade show.

  • Never took an art lesson and basically taught himself how to paint in his super-realistic style. His paintings are often mistaken for photographs.
  • Will celebrate his 15th wedding anniversary with Mindy on November 16, 2017. Just goes to show that a Southerner and a Yankee can live happily ever after.
  • Enjoys classic Southern food such as fried chicken, barbeque and collard greens most of all, but will pick up chopsticks and eat sushi too.

Scuba diving is another passion of Sam’s. He recently dove in Florida during lobster season. He brought home his catch and they were delicious.