DAILY ART FIX: Vietnam War combat artist still inspired by his ‘ultimate assignment’

Art world links which caught my eye…

We are so grateful to our veterans, who risked all to keep us free.

Ed Bowen served as US Army combat artist in Vietnam. He has recounted his experiences in paintings, drawings, and a memoir.

Ed Bowen, a U.S. Army combat artist sent to Vietnam in 1969, still paints scenes from Vietnam at his Corona del Mar home.

Ed Bowen and His Art

Ed Bowen recalls teaching art classes at Villa Park High School in Orange in 1967 when rumors began circulating the U.S. would draft citizens to fight in Vietnam. At 26, and ripe for the picking, he wasn’t too concerned.

Since his parents had come to Corona del Mar from Canada when he was a child, he figured his foreign residency precluded him from having to register for the draft. Plus, he was working a plum job; he loved art and the kids loved him.

It wasn’t until he received a letter in the mail, informing him he was to report for duty with the U.S. Army on Nov. 28, that he realized how wrong he’d been.

“I had to say goodbye to the kids — my dream was shattered,” he recalled. “But, as I say now, the Lord had other plans, and he was to take me to the ‘ultimate assignment.’”

What happened next would begin an incredible journey that would take Bowen to some of the most perilous stages of the Vietnam War where, armed with only a sketchpad and pen, an Instamatic camera and a Colt .45 revolver, he would fulfill a mission to capture the conflict in pictures.

A painting by Ed Bowen recalls a night in 1969 when enemy soldiers attempted to overtake an Army post in North Vietnam.

One of Ed Bowen’s Memories

Read the full article here: DAILY PILOT – Vietnam War combat artist still inspired by his ‘ultimate assignment’


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PAINTINGS: Nosecone Art


Art as invocation, with a cameo appearance of Kilroy enjoying the view

The current establishment art world cultivates insularity and isolation as a means to prop up the vapid, dysfunctional art they favor. From sterile white box galleries to haughty elitist attitudes, lots of effort is poured into erecting barriers to separate the experience of art from the despised masses and the realities of life.

But art does not exist to be plaything for decadent crypto-Marxist hipsters. It is a vital outpouring of the human soul, a visual method of spiritual communication. Art can take on surprising and spontaneous forms in the strangest places to remind us of who we really are.

A species of folk art arose when we started taking our wars into the skies. In World War I, for a time the fighting aircraft were painted with bright colors and bold designs that evoked heraldry, like pilots were knights jousting in the air. This was abandoned once it was realized camouflage-type coloration increased survival rates.


The Red Baron: Looks cool, but makes a very good target

But even after the overall military plane paint jobs were made to blend the sky, water or land,  the crews of planes created art on them, adding a little twist of character and personality in the midst of the industrial scale organization and danger of war.

These weren’t the polite expressions of a genteel upper crust. These images were the anonymous graffiti of common guys living on the edge. Pinup girls, cartoon characters, and catch phrases decorated aircraft that were made to engage the enemy, to kill or be killed. As bands of men were sent to face destruction or victory, they adorned their aircraft with images of jokes, icons of power and lovely ladies. That’s the spirit.

These were images that said we’re coming to kick your ass to protect the things we love. Such a meaningful expression of human endurance and defiance in the face of overwhelming adversity is completely lacking in the cloistered stylings of establishment art today. What our cultural institutions are serving up is completely inadequate for the troubled times we live in.

May we come to have an art with the urgency of a beautiful woman painted on a mighty flying machine, sent off on a mission of life or death.

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers! Visit my other posts to view the state of the arts.

Update 2: Some wiser men than me have let me know the correct term should be “nose art” or “fuselage art.”  I appreciate the update.



Flying tigers