Monday, January 30, 2012

When Art Meets Aviation

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Eric Firestone, a New York gallery owner and exhibit curator, was the mastermind behind The Boneyard Project. The former Tucson resident stands by a plane spray-painted by Retna, a popular LA graffiti artist.
  • Courtney L’Ecuyer
  • Eric Firestone, a New York gallery owner and exhibit curator, was the mastermind behind The Boneyard Project. The former Tucson resident stands by a plane spray-painted by Retna, a popular LA graffiti artist.

By Courtney L'Ecuyer

Eric Firestone paced back and forth between each painted bird and inspected their position. He wore a tattered blue jean button-down shirt, with a plaid tie and green Converse sneakers. He could have easily been mistaken for a janitor, when in fact he’s been in the art gallery business since age 22.

Firestone, 40, is the mastermind behind The Boneyard Project: Return Trip, an exhibit that debuted Saturday, January 28, 2012 at The Pima Air and Space Museum.

Five repurposed military planes grace the dirt lot, covered in graffiti from of artists around the world.

“The idea just came to me. And then I acted on it,” said Firestone.

The summer 2011 collection, “Nose Job,” debuted at the Eric Firestone Gallery in Easthampton, New York and featured aircraft nose cone art, which was popular among the United States Air Force pilots in the World Wars era. From that blossomed The Boneyard Project.

Over 20 vintage aircraft cones lined the entrance of the Tucson exhibit. Artists dunked them in paint and covered the cones in a mixture oil, enamel and fiberglass.

One artist recycled several popular American business logos into clever wordplay that questioned the spending of our federal government and called for less war and more peace. Popular urban artist Shepard Fairey created a megaphone with the word “obey” painted in mesmerizing script, hidden deep inside the aircraft cone. Irony, artistry, and sustainability at its finest.

Guests roamed The Boneyard Project, an art exhibit that debuted at The Pima Air and Space Museum on Saturday, January 28, 2012 featuring the work of graffiti artists from around the globe.
  • Courtney L'Ecuyer
  • Guests roamed The Boneyard Project, an art exhibit that debuted at The Pima Air and Space Museum on Saturday, January 28, 2012 featuring the work of graffiti artists from around the globe.


Museum go-ers pass the “Nose Job” collection and walk into the expanse of the Arizona desert to view five massive aircrafts poised and glowing like luminaries. Artists Andrew Schoutlz, How & Nosm, Nunca, Retna, Saner and Faile reincarnated three DC Super planes, a C97 cockpit and a C45 plane.

Before relocating to East Hampton, New York in 2010, Firestone resided and owned an art gallery. Over the past two decades, he paved the way for contemporary art around the nation. The New York Times, Vanity Fair and The Huffington Post have published raving reviews of his work.

The Pima Air and Space museum is the largest non-government funded aircraft museum in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The permanent collection holds over 300 vintage aircrafts and 125,000 artifacts. The art exhibit The Boneyard: Return Flight, runs through May 2012.

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