Text Box: The Aviation Art of Steven Heyen


Text Box: About The Artist




Text Box: I've been involved in aviation, and in art since as long as I can remember. Both my parents were good artists – my mother leaned toward the abstract, and my father toward drawing and design. My father was also a pilot. His job saw the family based all over the world through the sixties, seventies and eighties. We lived in New Guinea (I was born there), Fiji, Kenya, Indonesia and Malaysia. My principal form of entertainment as a kid was drawing aircraft, ships and animals. Some of the fondest memories of my childhood involve sitting at the kitchen table with my brother and drawing aeroplanes. When Dad was around, we would present them for a critique. Never one for unearned praise, he would change a curve, narrow a wing and reshape a tail. He had an unerring eye for detail and form, and until the day he died, there were few aircraft he couldn’t draw freehand to  90% accuracy. 
My mother introduced me to oil paints in my early teens. My natural inclination was toward realism and well defined subject matter – planes, ships and animals. My first significant oil painting was completed when I was sixteen. A P-38 shooting down a Rufe. At the time it never really entered my mind that other people painted aircraft pictures. I may have seen advertisements for Keith Ferris’ Korean War series in one of Dad’s old aviation magazines, but that was about it. 
I continued painting through the eighties and nineties and released my first limited edition print in 1993, which has since gone on to sell well. It featured one of Wing Commander (RAAF) Bobby Gibbes’ Spitfire Mk VIIIs, and Bobby was kind enough to sign the edition for me. My original aviation subjects were achieving good prices and I also won or was awarded places in numerous art exhibitions. I joined the American Society of Aviation Artists in the early nineties, and have managed to attend five forums, where I met and had some good times with many of the great and upcoming artists. 
In 2000 I decided to focus purely on landscape art for a few years. I was growing dissatisfied with the one-dimensional nature of my aviation compositions, and set about a self-taught crash course on landscape art. I must admit, a mentor would have been useful, but sometimes doing it yourself can be fulfilling. The initial results were promising, and pretty soon I was making sales in the genre. The skills developed in landscape painting dramatically improved my aviation art, not only in composition, but in technique and speed. 
The development of my website and the release of a series of new paintings and prints saw a return to aviation art for me. It was never a genre I could turn my back on, particularly with the knowledge on the subject developed over many years, and an extensive (and expensive!) aviation library. I tend to favour WWII subjects, but I definitely have my favourites in other eras. The website has also enabled me to develop a large base of clients all over the world, many of whom I am in regular contact with. 
I am not sure I can claim an influence from any one artist, but I certainly look to all the great aviation artists on occasion. I tend to favour ideas for paintings that have plausible compositions and realistic settings. A lack of shiny aircraft, fireballs and tracer everywhere may appear pedestrian to some people, but I believe that sombre realism can speak volumes in mood and emotion generally. I don’t always depict actual events, but I like to position an aircraft in a likely setting and let the aesthetics of the subject come to the fore. All aircraft have a personality, and finding the right angle for depiction is crucial in promoting its best features. 
My aviation art is still very much on a developmental journey. Although I sell a number of limited edition prints, my real desire is to enable collectors to purchase original art at a reasonable price. I believe that original art has an integrity and legacy beyond that of reproductions. I am privileged and honoured that my works can be found in collections all over the world, but I constantly strive for improvement, to ensure that collectors have acquired both a piece of art they love, as well as a good investment.














Text Box: +61 2 89696306      information@stevenheyenart.com