IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE A PAINTER WITHOUT A PAINTBRUSH, BUT ARTIST TARINAN VON ANHALT abandons the brush for something much more powerful — the jet engine. Inspired and mentored by her late husband, Prinz Jurgen von Anhalt, she began practicing Jet Art — the name her husband gave the technique — in 2006 and became the first woman in the world to stand behind a jet to create unique paintings. She traces her interest in the style to her admiration of Jackson Pollock, an American abstract expressionist artist known for his drip painting method. “To bring [that] genre into the jet age, as well as [to use] man’s greatest transportation tool of its time to place paint, move paint, and capture a moment in time, seemed amazing to me,” says von Anhalt.
Prinz Jurgen von Anhalt is credited for having created this artistic style 32 years ago. The Jet Art technique fuses art, science and engineering. Standing behind a jet with its engine running, the artist hurls paint onto a large piece of canvas with the aid of the engine’s force, as strong as a hurricane. The heat of the engine welds the paint onto the canvas. Aside from having an eye for colour and tone, the artist must also know and understand how a specific aircraft works, as each model has different properties. The distance of the canvas from the engine, the amount of power the engine produces, wind, temperature, heat and even the containers and tools that will be used — all these are critically considered. “The result is a synthesis of power, timing and the artist’s vision,” von Anhalt explains. “The jet blast creates the most unusual textures and structures, which cannot be achieved by a brush or a palette knife and can only be accomplished with the heat and velocity of the jet engines.” The symphony of colours, texture and intensity is what makes each painting original. “It can never be copied even by the artist,” she adds.
Producing such artwork requires extensive preparation and could even be dangerous, but it is something von Anhalt describes as “very addicting”. She has worked with the Cessna Citation II, Dassault Falcon 10, Hawker 400, Bombardier Challenger, Bombardier Learjets, Boeing 707 and Boeing 747, and hopes to create even more pieces using large jets. Not limited by the canvas, von Anhalt also uses the Jet Art technique to create patterns on fabrics, which she uses for her clothing line, Jet Art Fashion. In 2008, she also applied Jet Art to a six-foot tall, gold-plated statue called The Chamois amidst a crowd of approximately 350 people in California.
Motivated by the excitement and appreciation she gets from her audience, as well as the opportunity to travel to different cities all over the world, von Anhalt likes to push herself as an artist. Her ultimate goal? “To Jet Art a jet with another jet.”.