San Angelo resident Frank Dubeck vividly remembers his life before coming to the United States.

"it's not very good, opress country, not free."

Since Czechoslovakia was Communist-run and economically depressed, Frank found life there unbearable.

"People in the Communist country beat you, hit you in the face."

He knew he had to take a risk and leave.

"I like to be free man."

That was the start of a long, hard journey to his final destination: the United States.

"Left for better life. This country's promise, land for me."

He was 28-years-old.

What did his parents think of him leaving?

"They were happy for me that I left."

Often frightened, hungry and cold, Frank's journey wasn't easy.

Austria denied him political asylum and West Germany put him in prison for lack of a passport. After months of hiding out in train stations, Frank finally make it to Italy, where Catholic charities helped him reach the U.S.

"Best decision of my life. I'm 61-years-old."

After settling into his new home, Frank found a hobby...

"This is the best image for the states -- Jupiter, Mars, all the galaxy."

That would shape his life

"Started painting 1988. Work in a garden, watering season, my cousin said, 'Let's go. You a good artist, buy a few paper, few canvas and start working on them.' I'm artist, working artist still alive. This is an expression for freedom."

When you purchase on of Frank's paintings...

"I like meeting people."

You will also receive his life story on the back.

"You may never make it famous. No life for famous life, for freedom."