Graffiti art on aircraft possibly started in the First and Second World Wars when Nose Art became a means of personalisation, with images of peacetime such as cartoons, nicknames, home-towns and girls, including the famous Memphis Belle.
There have been recent painted aircraft, one of the most amusing series being JAL Dream Express which depicted Disney Characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Australia’s national airline Qantas commissioned Aboriginal designs to celebrate the 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, including “Wunala Dreaming” designed by John Moriarty and his wife Ros to feature the spirits of Aboriginal people in the form of kangaroos running across the red desert landscape. This painting was originally planned as a 3-month promotion and is said to be the world’s most photographed aircraft during the 17 years it flew until taken out of service in 2012. Quantas has continued with this initiative and Aboriginal artist Paddy Bedford’s painting Mendoowoorrji – Medicine Pocket inspired the latest art design for a 737-800 aircraft, launched in November 2013.
In an art project in 2012 at the Pima Air and Space Museum called The Boneyard Project, more than 30 of the world’s best graffiti artists gave new life to five disused US Air Force jets in the famous Boneyard in Arizona. For further pictures see here….
This year, Brazilian graffiti artists Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo aka Os Gemeos were hired by GOL Transportes Aereos to paint the aircraft carrying Brazil’s World Cup Team. The mural took a week to create and involved the use of 1200 cans of spray paint. The graffiti shows different kinds of world cup fans from all walks of life. GOL Airlines will continue to use this plane on regular routes for another 2 years.
In the UK, Bristol-based HANGFIRE - Graffiti Art Commissions and Mural Specialists – have organised a programme of painted aeroplanes. For the first project, 45RPM painted a dismantled Lockheed Jetstar. For the second, named ‘Icarus_13′, two graffiti artists Sat One and Roids, took on the challenge of painting a Boeing 737, The large commercial plane was covered in gray and chrome-silver paint in their characteristic style.
Will we see more examples of graffiti art taking to the skies, enlivening the journey for passengers and crew through the use of art?