Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WWII Nose Art

As an artist I undoubtedly have an appreciation for art, but I especially like "art at work." Sure going through galleries and seeing the works of great artists is always a treat, but I do appreciate finding art in things all around us by "artists" all around us. Surely being labeled "artist" carries many beliefs, one of which is that you are not an artist if your works are not in a gallery. Art is something that is magical and either you have it or you don't. This is not true. I like to see artists making art that speaks of their experiences and translates into everyday life. In WWII we have just that with nose art. Combat crews and pilots decorated their warbirds with many things.

The image of a woman was by far the most popular. Nose art and pin ups were not new but together they were a hit. Many service men duplicated the popular Vargas girls in Esquire at the time. Surely many of these artist remain anonymous but they were and are enjoyed none the less. At the height of the war, nose artist were in high demand and got paid accordingly.

But this begs the question, why don't we see anymore nose art? In WWII there were regulations against marking military equipment, however society and thus the military (the navy did not) allowed this since our men were sacrificing their lives. Nose art has been credited with boosting morale, and giving the boys luck. Today the regulations are enforced and there is a lot of red tape to get through before you can apply art to your plane. Some people find this degrading to women, but I have to disagree, these images were security and good luck symbols on their planes that got them through a lot of tough times! If you are interested in helping to preserve this art you can visit Save the Girls for more information. To view some WWII planes in Wisconsin, you can visit the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh.

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