Flight… how did we get there? Ingenuity? Curiosity? A yearning spawned by the brutal enslavement of gravity? A handful of stupidly daring and courageous spirits? Quite certainly, these are all collaborating forces that birthed an amazing history of humans in flight. Da Vinci dreamed of flight and illustrated it. The Wright Brother's took first wing. And modern science has nearly perfected the field of aviation and the machines that carry it.
When we were growing up, members of the Knomad Colab wanted to be pilots at some point or another. We relished the notion of gliding through the air, weightless and unbounded. We wanted to get away, to defy gravity. Honestly, how many people don't, at some point, entertain the idea of flying? Of course, we did not ultimately become pilots, yet, our intrigue for the subject of flight never fully diminished. Lets face it, the idea that our brains and bodies have the power to overcome nature's limitations, and somehow best gravity, is utterly fascinating (and sometimes terrifying). And... the machine itself is also quite ponderous!
After a healthy and invigorating conversation with two private pilots in Savannah as well as staying at an airbnb apartment owned by a graphic artist for gulf stream jets (also in Savannah), flight was definitely on our mind as we made our trek towards Navarra, FL. Given that this area of FL, located in the western part of the panhandle near Pensacola, is laden with Air Force bases and air traffic, there was a good chance that the subject of aviation and flight would inspire our light installation.
As we drove into Navarre, we passed what appeared to be a huge lot full of retired military fighter planes. This lot was a part of the Air Force Armament Museum. The planes appeared outwardly triumphant, yet somehow also neglected, lonely, obsolete. Once, they had proudly served a purpose. Once, they were youthful heroes. Now, they towered massively, motionless, in quiet reflection. Without a question, it is these qualities that drew us to want to literally cast a new light on these stagnant, emptied mechanical creatures.
As life (some refer to this as luck) would have it, we were in the company of a stellar Air Force engineer- one Captain DeLeon. When he heard of our idea to paint what he so affectionately referred to as "old warbirds" with light, he immediately began working on making our light installation at the Armament museum a reality. We're not going to lie, there was a lot of proper protocol and procedure to follow, but Capt. DeLeon, merciless in his support for this collaboration of flight and light, eventually got clearence for the installation to take place.
We chose first to tackle this monstrous B-17 bomber. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is highly significant in WWII and regarded as the more important heavy bomber for American Allies during the second World War. It is also perhaps one of the most readily identified bombers of the WWII era. After over 75 years since it's first flight, the B-17 is now only an icon of the past. Only a few remain in flying shape, while most, like the one below, stand merely as monuments to their previous selves.
We ended our evening gathered around an illuminated A-10 Thunderbolt II- also know as the Warthog. Once an indispensable tool for providing close air support and withstanding tremendous attack, the A-10 now slowly falls to the wayside in favor of new technology. The fate of this old warbird attracted us, no doubt, to the idea of re-imagining the aircraft.
Thanks to the United States Air Force's generosity and trust in our artistic intentions, we were granted permission to share these images with you. There are a few stipulations though:
Not that we intended to, but we cannot sell or take donations for any of the images included in this blog post. Thus, we want to make very clear that these images have not in any way been placed on this site to entice you to donate to our further ambitions. Although we have been given some paper work to fill out in hopes that we can include these images in our Art Book, we are not certain that these images will be approved to appear in the art book. That being said, we hope you enjoyed this rare collaboration. The experience was certainly thrilling and well worth the sacrifice of financial gain. Next stop… Cincinnati and Kaleidoscope II!