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The Fascinating History of Nose Art

Buzzle Staff
Nose art is nothing but a few quotations, pictures, or even a catchy name described on the nose of the aircraft.
Warplanes are always associated with causing death, destruction and misery. But who would have thought that they would become the source for a wacky piece of art called nose art? This fact is astonishingly true. As a matter of fact, nose art is so popular that certain aficionados scavenge among plane wreckage to find examples and conduct exhibitions.
It is a type of art that originated from a part of the plane called the nose. This was initiated by the Italian and German pilots and gained limelight due to the pilots of the American military aircraft.
The other prominent air forces that used this art were Hitler's Luftwaffe (air force) and also the Soviet air force. This type of artwork is nothing but a few quotations, pictures or even a catchy name described on the nose of the aircraft. People did not scratch their heads for such names.
They came from the names of their beloved, their icons or even their current situations such as 'The Wandering Warrior.' This form of art was prominent with the U.S air force. They used names such as 'Damage Inc.' or 'Thor' to boost their morale.
This art was present even during the prominent Second World War as the air force of both the Axis and the Allied countries used this form of 'art'. Though not appreciated by the higher ranking officials, they were endured as they raised the caliber of the soldiers. But it was not put up by everyone as it was considered 'undignified and disgraceful'.


Though nose art was invented by the Axis counties (Italy and Germany), it was brought into prominence by the United States of America. The first recorded example was that of a sea monster painted on an Italian flying boat's nose way back in 1913.
They were results of a human brainwave to transform the vacant space in an airplane into something useful, innovative and also creative. It also proves the human intelligence. It may have been crazy ideas to generate pieces of art on airplanes but the ideas of yesterday turn into the wonders of today and the heritage of tomorrow.
As they were unauthorized and considered 'discreditable', the artists of such wonderful pieces of art preferred to remain in obscurity. In the earlier days, they were considered as folk art or sophisticated graffiti. The wonderful art were just as temporary as a passing cloud.
This was not always the case as a handful of artists such as Tony Starcer and Brinkman were identified as prominent artists during their respective times. Though they got a roller coaster ride to prominence with the U.S air force, they were a tradition followed by the Virgin group airlines.
In spite of it being used by various institutions, they were revived only in the times of war. They were essential to distinguish ally from nemesis. It later relieved the armed forces of other complications such as the vagueness caused by the different uniforms, expression of pride and patriotism and also for a variety of reasons.

Position in Today's World

After dominating the war field for decades, the examples are now jut memories and are now used on cars or bikes just for style. Jordan, the renowned constructor of Formula One cars also used it to decorate their cars.
Nose art, once an object of dread and fear have become an icon of style and trend. They are now just left as outstanding examples to prove that once human creativity and the ever-fertile brain is applied, even fallow land can be converted into green lands.