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The Creative Process Behind Special Paint Schemes  
User currently offlineMwk From Sweden, joined Apr 2005, 20 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3700 times:

Hello everybody,

I have lately been thinking about special paint schemes and how they are created and I’m hoping that somebody here can help me.
What I’m wondering about is how they are first conceived. Not the technical aspect of it, but rather the artistic bit. How is a scheme created, is it an artist that creates it, could it be created from a photograph, or some other way?
I read the story about Wunala Dreaming on Qantas homepage, and that would be a clear example of an artists (or group of artists) work applied to an aircraft, but what about other examples?
Perhaps something less spectacular, like a “normal” business jet or general aviation aircraft, how are such schemes created? What is the artistic process behind it and would you consider it to be art?
I hope I’m making some sense here, basically I would like to know if anybody has any knowledge about the process behind the creation of such paint schemes.
I would also like to hear your opinions on how “special” a scheme would have to be for it to be considered art.
Lastly some examples of what I’m thinking about:

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Photo © James Evans
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Photo © Tim Samples - CFI-CFII-MEI



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Photo © David Price
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Photo © Alexander Jonsson



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Photo © Erick Stamm
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Photo © Thomas Pedersen


Cheers
Martin

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirOrange From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3642 times:

Dear Martin,

Most of the aircraft paint scheme designs are for commercial purposes, as a promotion or as a visiting card for the involved aircraft operator/aircraft owner (airlines, air cargo companies, business, general and military aviation, aircraft manufacturers etc.), and cannot be qualified as pure art but more as graphic design. Aircraft paint designs emphasize a brand name or are the visual expression of how a airline company or aircraft owner wants to be seen. Often a design emphasizes the country of origin by using the flag colours, animals or other images when it comes to national carriers. Aircraft paint designs are creations of specializing graphic design companies (like for example Landor Associates, Interbrand, Future Brand, Aerobrand, Teague, Winkreative, Blue Duck Design, Lila Design), sole graphic designers, paint artists or paint shops. Even Boeing and Airbus have their in-house graphic design departments to serve their customers. However more and more aircraft paint designs of today look like they are the result of non-specializing designers, non-professionals or sketches made by the aircraft owners themselves.

There are special aircraft paint designs like flying billboards (commercials), special theme's (anniversary/event related etc.) and even the corporate colour schemes of the aircraft manufacturers themselves.

There are a number of special theme and flying billboard paint designs which are created by artists and which even can be qualified as pure art or as "a result" created by pure art artists. JAS hired a famous national paint artist for the creation of their rainbow liveries. I think Ecuatoriana also hired a paint artist at the time they flew their Boeing 707s. It's for sure that Alaska hired a paint artist or illustrator to design the Thirty Salmon livery (which is a flying billboard ordered by the Alaskan fishery industry) as like BA did hire paint artists and graphic designers for their world tails.

The application of the artwork to the aircraft is a different story. When a design is created by an artist, the maintenance/engineering department of an aircraft owner/operator or paintshop is going to work out the idea towards a technical drawing (an engineering drawing). The paintshop of complicated pure art schemes is often done in paint by a team of dedicated professional painters/airbrushers, often under supervision and by direction of the graphic design agency and/or the paint artist. When the aircraft owner decides to have the application in sticker instead of paint then the design is digitally prepared for the aircraft sticker manufacturer. A paint application is more durable than using stickers in matter of lifetime and colour stability. From the other hand a sticker design is easier to apply and easier to remove than paint. By using stickers, photo images are easier to use. Unfortunately a photo image is not always more tastefull than an illustrated image.

Regards,
Norbert


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Photo © Jay Piboontum




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Photo © Howard Chaloner




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Photo © Montague Smith-WorldWide Aviation Photos




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Photo © AirNikon




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Photo © Bob Garrard




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Photo © Brian Bartlett




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Photo © Propfreak



User currently offlineMwk From Sweden, joined Apr 2005, 20 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3583 times:

Dear Norbert,

Thank you for your very informative reply.
I am aware that most such special paint schemes are as you say created for commercial purposes. But I’m not sure I totally agree that disqualifies them from being pure works of art. Consider for example a portrait painted by an artist, such portraits are also made on the request of the costumers, but are normally considered art. However such portraits usually do not include a trademark of some sort. But trademarks have successfully been used in works of art. These types of arguments are what troubles me. Because instinctively I think in the same way as you that a paint scheme would be a graphic design. So the question is where to draw the line.
You say that a paint scheme usually is created by a design company and, in the case of sticker application, is transferred to digital media. But I’m guessing that it starts out as sketches, digital or free hand, and that at some point a “final” sketch is made. Could perhaps such a final sketch be considered a work of art? The application of it on an aircraft could then be considered making a copy of the original work of art?
These are just some thoughts and once again thank you for sharing your expertise. I have seen the work of Lila Design before, and I have to say that the A330s of VG airlines was the absolutely best looking A330 ever.

Cheers
Martin


User currently offlineAirOrange From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3513 times:

Thanks Martin,

Sorry for the late reply. What is art? May I write down a quote of the famous Belgian "modern artist, engineer and milionair" Panamarenko: "As long as you can laugh with creations it's art. When creations are meant to be serious it's no art!" I feel sympathy for this quote but above all I adore his art and creations. He is an artist pur sang.

Get acquainted with the creations designed by Panamarenko at http://www.panamarenko.be

Back to the topic. Where to draw the line: art or design? I go for Panamarenko's quote. As soon when a livery creation is meant to be serious, it's no art but design. Hope this will do for you too.

Regards,
Norbert


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