Craig Kodera is a native of Southern California who grew up with a love for aviation. His interest in aviation was due in large part because he comes from an “aviation family.” With an uncle who was the second in command of the famous “Doolittle Raid” in World War II and living in close proximity to Los Angels International Airport a life of aviation was inevitable.
At the age of sixteen Kodera earned his private pilots license. While attending UCLA Kodera was a member of the Air Force ROTC program, serving three years before his graduation in 1978 with a degree in Mass Communications with a minor in Art History. His first professional pursuits after graduation found Kodera working for small design/production/advertising firms in the Los Angels area that eventually culminated in a position with McDonnell Douglas as a production artist and illustrator.
In 1979 Kodera attained a commission with the Air Force reserve and began pilot training, having realized his goal of becoming a professional pilot. After pilot training he returned to his unit at March Air Force Base to fly the HC-130H. In 1984 he transferred to the Strategic Air Command and the KC-10A Extender unit also located at March Air Force Base. After arriving Kodera upgraded to Aircraft Commander and was hired by Air California in 1986. In 1987 Kodera separated from the Air Force Reserve, marking the end of his military career and the beginning of an new career for Air California merged with American Airlines in July of 1987. Kodera is currently flying with American Airlines as an MD-80 First Officer with nearly 7,000 flying hours of experience.
Kodera began painting in 1970 at the age of fourteen and it was only natural for his passion for aviation to appear on canvas. Painting exclusively with oil Kodera has found inspiration from artists such as Frank Wooten, Jack Leywood, Norman Rockwell and his long time mentor R.G. Smith. These art legends round out his list of “Masters.”
Kodera’s work is printed by The Greenwich Workshop. He has original paintings hanging at the Smithsonian Institution Air and Space Museum, San Diego Aerospace Museum, Navel Aviation Museum and galleries on the West Coast. His work has also been included The Golden Age of Flight and Earthwaves Exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution and the ASAA exhibition at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center.
Kodera has done contract work for industrial clients including Federal Express Corporation and Northrop Corporation who each proudly display his work. In 1986-1989 he was the artist under contract to render the ultra secret B-2 bomber for the Northrop Corporation.
Kodera is a member of several professional organizations including the Air Force Art program since 1979, Society of Illustrators, and the American Society of Aviation Artist, a group that he was both charter member and Vice President.