Essay / Avant-Garde

Planes and more planes

Plane brownblue nx364a prop
Consider airplanes. They are simple structures, with a certain minimalist elegance. They are necessarily aerodynamic, with the happy result that their sleek horizontal lines appeal to the eye of any aesthete. The binding logic of motion and force dictate most of their structure, including the delicately nuanced perpendicular of the wings sprouting from the body.

Add to these smooth lines the optical magic of a propeller in motion (how DO you draw that?), and it’s no surprise that a young artist would become fixated on capturing the visual phenomenon of airplanes.

plane big jet colored with blue marker

Nor is it surprising that no single image can capture the thing itself, but that sketches must be multiplied.
Plane brown marker windows

Again. And again.
Plane air force 1

Who can say what moves the artist to choose his subject? And who can presume to tell an artist when he has exhausted a theme?

How can you know when you have produced the drawing which says what you’ve been trying to say in image after image? When does the muse give permission to lay aside marker and crayon?
Plane blue marker passenger prop

If the young artist stopped too soon, just one drawing too soon, we might not have the “flower-petal” interpretation of propellers shown here.
Plane fedex propstorm

Or the horizontal tornado interpretation sported by this little light freight model.
Plane red marker passenger jet

Or this Red Baron carrying cargo. RAGE! RAGE! My marker screams its fury, scrawled across the surface of the bloated bomber! Like ein buncha sausage-links, der verdammten Luftwaffe flyen-maschine ist nicht kaput! O du lieber flyen-maschine! Alles ist hin!
Plane blue marker prop

Or this jaunty little pedestrian.
plane calling tower

Not to mention explorations of the communication systems maintained by airports.
plane front view blue crayon

Or front views –a whole new world of possibilities opens up as the drastic foreshortening reveals that planes harbor circular forms no less potent than their long aerodynamic lines.
Plane blue marker passenger commercial

And on and on it goes. Reams of paper devoted to the examination of the aesthetic possibilities of airplanes. Who can predict when this phase will end, or what will be next in the artist’s restless self-reinvention, his taking up and casting aside of subject matter? Where will his potent fascination settle next?

I’m guessing choo-choo trains.

Share this essay [social_share/]