Industryweek 14726 Flexjet18645

Art of Motion

May 3, 2013
There are all kinds of ideas about how to get the youth interested in manufacturing. But, at the core, I think we just need to find ways to better tell manufacturing’s story.

There’s something genuinely fascinating in seeing manmade aircraft ascend into the atmosphere, 400,000 pounds of metal and plastic propelled upwards by human innovation and ingenuity. Sometimes, even though I live near an airport, I catch myself stopping and just watching the planes overhead. The effect is both awe-inspiring and frightening.

The marvel of flight was enough to inspire artist Jeffrey Milstein to photograph airplanes from underneath. The series, “Aircraft: The Jet as Art,” freezes airplanes in mid-air as they soar overhead.

“Watching a mammoth Boeing 747 gracefully gliding overhead on the way to touch down never ceases to amaze me, but they are also a meditation on how technology can be a double-edged sword when things go wrong,” Milstein writes.

Flight is beautiful. Why shouldn’t the processes that make maneuvering a plane through the clouds be equally as captivating?

There are all kinds of ideas about how to get the youth interested in manufacturing. But, at the core, I think we just need to find ways to better tell manufacturing’s story.

There’s a reason so many kids want to grow up to become football players or, at the other end of the spectrum, artists; they want to do something they love.

I think maybe the key to reaching today’s youth is in finding ways to reach them at their level. And I don’t just mean by showing them robots because technology is inherently cool, right?

Sure, not every teenage boy can become a professional football player. But why can’t he become part of the process, a key part in the supply chain of the National Football League? And why can’t that be just as worthy an aspiration?

Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., for example, produces all of the footballs used in the NFL at its Ada, Ohio manufacturing facility.

Or, for the more tech-minded, Cincinnati-based LSI Industries manufactures indoor and outdoor LED video displays for the Jerome Schottenstein Center, the home of Ohio State University’s basketball team, and the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the site for University of Arkansas football games.

There are just so many opportunities to engage the youth in manufacturing, whatever the outlet, be it sports or the arts. Those in manufacturing know the beauty in creation; now they just need to sell it.

Flexjet grasped this concept, in part, with its recent partnership with Jet Art Group to commemorate the Learjet’s 50th anniversary.

 Jet Art Group takes flight as art to a completely new level. For the group, the jet is the paintbrush. The artist splashes paint into the force generated from a jet engine, which splatters the paint all over a canvas.

“The blast from a Learjet aircraft engine creates the most amazing texture and structure, which simply cannot be achieved by a brush or a palette knife,” said artist Princess Tarinan von Anhalt.

This event goes a long way in showing a different side to manufacturing - the pure beauty of innovation and creativity – from a perspective that engages people in a different way.

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