My name is Lindsay “Bones” Cordero, and I am a Major in the United States Air Force. 

The opportunity to star in the Artisan Air streaming series was an example of an opportunity arriving out of the blue. But a quote by Seneca comes to mind: “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” 

In 2020 I was sitting in my cubicle at work when my inbox began pinging with emails. I watched in horror as they kept coming in (why so many emails at once!?) until I realized… they were all forwards from my friends *and* the subject line asked, “Are you an Artist?”

I thought WHY YES, I AM and quickly began going through the emails. The United States Air Force had sent out a survey to the force to determine who amongst its ranks was a creative. They wanted to know: did you make art? What kind? Do you have a social media presence? Website? Any notable collaborations? Participation in festivals? Significant recognition? Examples of your work? Biography? 

I was initially suspicious; the Air Force sends out TONS of surveys, but I had never seen one quite like this. But all my friends were rooting me on, insisting I take it, encouraging me to put my work out there. So, I did. I filled out that survey like my life depended on it. High quality images of my paintings. Group shows I had participated in or been selected for (I had not yet had a solo show!). Articles published and examples of my writing. An in-progress picture book dummy which Pelican Publishing would release two years later titled The Krewe of Barkus and Meoux. My BONES X ICONI brand collaboration, a fantastic partnership for the “My Body Is Art” apparel collection. I explained how my art and writing encompassed three areas of interest – mental health, literacy, and conservation. I submitted everything and…. for almost a year… silence. 

Answering the Call

Fast forward to 2021. Picture it. It’s late September and I am on vacation in Maine with my bestie. I’m learning about sustainable lobster fishing (reference fabulous pic of me on the boat). I’m in a pumpkin spice state of mind, autumn spreading through the canopies of trees. You can taste sea salt in the ocean breeze. Then… I got a call. From the Air Force. 

“Thank you for taking the Air Force Artisans survey questionnaire last year. We have reviewed your work, and would like to ask if you would be interested in participating in a television show about creatives in the force?” 

I was shocked, standing in the A Little Mad shop in Bar Harbor (quite on theme), and – speechless – sat on a green velvet couch with a label that stated, “no sitting.” Everything around me seemed so bright, so possible. How was this moment real? 

“Ma’am?”

I snapped out of it and replied: “YES but I am in Maine right now!”  

They laughed and said it would be a while before filming began, but that all they needed from me was whether I would be willing to participate. They marked me down as a yes, and that was the end of the conversation.

It was an incredible feeling. The entire rest of the trip I was buoyant. An opportunity to share my work with the world in my role as an Air Force officer. At this point in my creative journey, I had kept a firm line between my creative work and my military work. I didn’t keep it a secret that I was an artist, but I didn’t bring it up with people if it wasn’t pertinent to the work at hand. 

Identity

Until Artisan Air I did not get to show up as an Air Force officer, author and artist, the totality of my identities intertwined. This opportunity meant the world to me because I was able to show through personal example how you can live a multifaceted life, with varied identities and interests. In the Air Force, when we talk about resiliency, retention, recruiting and representation, I would argue we are invariably talking about identity. 

  • Resiliency is whether you have an ecosystem of identities to thrive within, or whether you are measuring yourself by a single metric of personhood. 
  • Retention is based on whether you identify with belonging to the system or community you are already within. 
  • Recruiting brings people together into identity, and in the military assimilates them within a community identity. 
  • Representation is whether you can identify with personally or appreciate empathically the lived experience of those you follow, lead, or walk beside.

Participating in Artisan Air was an absolute yes for me. Artisan Air exemplifies the value in diverse backgrounds, experiences, talents, and thoughts of Airmen and Guardians at all ranks and across all roles within the Air and Space Force. 


You can see all of my latest work at my viewing galleries, order prints of some of my favorite works, or view a private gallery of my most recent collection, “Expressions”, with Proudly She Served at the Peace Gallery.

You can also watch my episode of Air Force Artisans by downloading The AF Live app.