Saturday, December 19, 2009

The art of warpaint...

Members of the fly guy artist club were not pop icons, or socialites, they were men and women serving our country in wartime, with dreams and memories of home and peacetime. The art that was painted on these warbirds were not officially allowed by the military, but the regulations were not enforced. Military code is based on uniformity, and these paintings were the only form of individuality and expression that broke that code. The regulations may not have been enforced on the basis that these paintings gave a little boost in morale to the squadron, and may have given them a little comfort in the stresses of war and possibility of death. The themes varied from hometowns, to pin up girls, cartoon characters, wives, girlfiriends, and enemy stereotypes. The planes were originally painted to identify friendly units, but evolved into an American folk art of sorts. The critics of these paintings were usually on the receiving end of huge missiles and gun fire, the artwork was not being sold at galleries in cities around the world. It was an art that was done in a bad place during a bad time that helped make a few people laugh, or feel safe, or even draft a memory of home. The further away from the public's eye the planes were the racier the art was, the planes stationed in the pacific were prone to have more nudity, and enemy stereotypes then the ones stationed in Europe. Nose art can be traced back to pre WW1 Italian planes, but it was traditionalized in ww1 and more so in ww2 by the flying tigers shark faces, and american air squadrons. WW2 was the golden age of this art, after WW2 it was seen a little in Vietnam, and Korea, but is not so prevelant on modern day war planes. The planes come marked with military insignias, but these markings were the thoughts, character, and nature of the crew that manned the planes that were going into situations were the future wasn't always a certain. I am magnetized to these paintings in so many ways, the wit and humor, the neat lettering and fonts, the cartoons and women, but most of all it's the men behind the art and the American spirit that lived in them to create these paintings, not for the money or recognition, but for the other men and women in the war that might see it. Viva americana!
































































1 comment:

Quinn said...

3rd from the bottom of the photos, that chick is in the west hangar at the willow run airport.