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.