Since nose art became popular throughout the war it has become an iconic form of art work in its own right. It is no longer reserved purely for aviation enthusiasts alone. It is no longer only found decorating the fuselage of a war bird but can now be found decorating many a country kitchen or city lounge. Many modern artists are taking inspiration from this genre of art and the great artists of that time.
Once such modern artist who paints nose art inspired pieces onto leather jackets is the fabulous artist and furniture shop owner, Anneke Helleman. She was born into an artistic family in 1962 and grew up in Holland, where she continues to reside and work. After catching the drawing bug as a child she later taught herself to paint (no art school for this young lady) and still attends a painting group once a week along with like-minded individuals to practice her work on canvas and continue in her artistic growth. Though her day job is in her own furniture shop, where she also exhibits her art work, her true passion lays in putting paint to canvas or leather. Her multifaceted work includes figurative, abstract, typesetting and nose art, with her enthusiasm for the medium being evident in all she does.
Though married mother of two Anneke says that “…Painting is my hobby…(a) GREAT hobby” it is clearly more than that and since returning to her artistic tendencies after a ten-year gap, she is beginning to make a very good business out of it. Anneke began her crusade to bring decorated leather jackets to the masses when a good friend who is a member of the Dutch re-enactment group Band of Brothers asked her to individualise his own jacket with her art work. The piece in question is ‘Lucky Lady’, seen below. Having started her Facebook page this year it really was just the beginning and her following has gone from strength to strength.
Anneke specifically admires the nose art style because “Every painting has a story to tell”. As do Anneke’s pieces, each one is completely bespoke, Anneke believes it is important to form a bond with the recipient to discover what they want from the artwork and stays in touch throughout the artistic process, ultimately becoming friends with some. One can only imagine the stories she must hear and the people she must meet. Imagine how exciting it must have been to recieve the call from WW II Vet Woody Williams and hear that Texan drawl and even to have him sign her work.
Anneke was also lucky enough to have American actor Gary Sinise sign a wallet adorned with her magnificent art work on for the Skyball.
Anneke has had such a brilliant response to her work she has even branched out into doing a calendar for next year. Her large fan base is evident by hers recently being voted the best picture on the site https://www.facebook.com/airplainart . It is no surprise that her work is revered and admired by many, each creation is exquisite and one could imagine them being composed with sound of bombers over head in the middle of WW II rather than the present day.
Anneke never paints the same image twice, everyone is individual “so every jacket is special for me and for the owner”.
With her red lipstick and victory curls Anneke sure looks the vintage part whilst attending fairs and exhibitions to advertise her work.
I for one look forward to the day I can walk down the street with a nose art inspired masterpiece adorning the back of an A2 style jacket.
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