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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Someone you should know—Keith Ferris Aviation Artist

I was talking with Nancy Huggins the Chief of Staff of the Central Maryland Regional Transit the other week and am always on the lookout for stories about interesting people.  She mentioned that her Father was an aviation artist that had painted some of the art in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  This past week I had a chance to talk with Keith Ferris her Dad.

How do you become an “aviation artist?”  It helps to grow up in an Air Force family and hanging around planes growing up at Kelly Airfield in San Antonio.  Keith planned on following his father’s footsteps and become a pilot.  In 1937 there were only 1600 pilots in the military and 16,000 soldiers in the Army Air Corps. The Air Force didn’t become a separate branch of the military until after WWII in 1947.

Unfortunately an allergy to eggs would prevent him from having that opportunity.  His energy was then directed into art and as a mostly self-taught artist he channeled his interest in planes into this new area. While enrolled at Texas A&M he had an opportunity to paint some pictures of planes for training manuals at Randolph Air Force Base. This is when he saw his first jet plane.

Aviation art was not something that was widely practiced and he had opportunities open up for him when he moved to New York where many of the aircraft manufacturers and trade publications were headquartered.  He took every opportunity to learn more about photography, printing and art. He soon found himself directing other plane artist on the technical aspects of planes.  Soon he had a number of plane manufacturers contacting him to work creating art of their planes.  Working in a freelance basis for over 50 years has provided him with an enjoyable career. 

His career received a big boost when he was accepted into the Society of Illustrators that brought him in contact with many famous illustrators in the country.  As the Air Force began to use illustrators he became one of the most used illustrators.  The only problem was that the Air Force didn’t pay for the art.  That was soon rectified when the aircraft companies like Pratt and Whitney and Lockheed paid him for doing the paintings that he donated to the Air Force.  The thing Keith is very proud of is the formation of the American Society of Aviation Artists of which he was President for many years.
 You can see some of Keith’s work when you visit the Air and Space Museum in DC. His painting is the one in the WWII exhibit area of the B-17 Thunderbird bomber.  The photo above is that photo. During WWII the B-17 flew many missions over Europe and many of the crews never returned from those missions.

Today much of his art is available for purchase online. 

Information to share
JOB CLUB Tuesday, September 6th at 10am—Open to all Adults. FREE -
Job clubs are designed to motivate job seekers and connect them with
needed resources to expand their network to land their ideal job. Space is
limited, you must RSVP to reserve your spot by Friday prior to the job
club. Contact Cindy 410-799-1097 ext. 300 or e-mail -
Held the first Tuesday's of the month - Pinnacle Empowerment Center, 8180
Lark Brown Road, Ste. 301, Elkridge, MD 20175

P.S. 2
It finally happened yesterday. A "flamethrower" posted a comment to the blog.  This is a term that describes a person who decides to use a blog to "post over the top" comments. I certainly encourage anyone to post a comment when you disagree with something I post.  But keep the post about the area of disagreement and not to get personal in your comment.  I have decided to moderate the comments of this blog.  So "anonymous" you might as well go to another blog to "monitor" its content. 

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