Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.F.A. in Art


Art and Art History

First Advisor

Durant Thompson

Second Advisor

Kris Belden-Adams

Third Advisor

Andrew Smith

Relational Format



I was introduced to the airplane at a young age through my father. Since that time I have been obsessed with airplanes. Wanting to be like my father in my youth, I became interested in the construction of these machines. I would spend hours working in the shop with my dad on airplanes and learning the specific structures that made up all sorts of different aircrafts. As I grew older I became fascinated with the history of aviation and where the idea of flight came from. It was this passion and knowledge that led me to my current body of work. This body of work explores the different types of inspiration that the bird had on the development of the airplane. Though birds and humans can both achieve flight, they do so very differently. “Leading Edge” combines elements from both avian and aviation wings. The flight of a bird is very fluid and graceful where as humankind’s version of flight is industrial and static. Bringing the themes together produces visually interesting designs that combine the hard metal edges with softer organic compositions. I find a certain beauty in the contrast between industrial and organic forms when they become melded together. This work investigates the structure of a bird’s wing as it moves in flight, a phenomenon which also provided a template for the development of aviation through curious artists such as Leonardo da Vinci. By contrasting the industrial and organic forms I strive to create artistically appealing compositions that will speak to a broad group of people, while evoking a subtle appreciation for the avian and aviation genre.



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