26 July, 2009

Profile 34.6 - Yellow 6 as flown by Kyösti "Kössi" Karhila

8/2/09 update - tail and fuselage shown...but Kossi thought the cockpit area was too "fat" so I'm not showing that quite yet.

The airplane above, to me, represents life in its hard, cold ambiguity. It's a German-designed Messerschmitt 109 G6/R6 flown by Finnish Air Force ace, Kyosti Karhila.

For most Americans, the closest they get to Finnish culture is using a Nokia phone (you're not alone if you had thought all this time that the company was Japanese). And to be frank, Finnish history is devilish in its complexity. Suffice it to say, for the past 100 years, Russia has wanted Finland and the Finnish people haven't let them have it. Of course, people died in the process. Most of them, Russians.

Now, two things have to be made clear (and this will only add to the confusion). First, though there was a fascist element in the pre-WW2 Finnish government, the swastika on the side of the Messerschmitt has nothing to do with the nazi symbol. The Finns maintain they were using the design in 1918, way before Hitler thought of using Graphic Design as a way to motivate the masses.

Second, the Finns saw Stalin's communism as a greater evil than Hitler. Russia was shooting. Germany wasn't. So, they got the help where they could. I wouldn't want to have to choose between Stalin and Hitler, that's for sure.

I have a growing respect for Finland's tenacity and tough choices. Today, they are a thriving nation with its own rich culture. They've been the "David" to Russia's "Goliath" and worked very hard for their own Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When the opportunity presented itself to do a print-series of an aircraft flown by one of her national heroes, I was compelled to take it.

Hopefully, Yellow 6 will be done sometime in August and have the prints submitted to Mr. Karhila in September for signing. More as this develops, but until then, I've only managed to get a handle on just the tip of Karhila's airplane...much like my grasp of Finnish history.