Aviator and artist Lance Lockhart lands in Custom Hangar: The Boeing Store.

Lance Lockhart

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Arts Issue: June 2016
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PHM0616PF LL 01Lance Lockhart’s workshop/studio in a Mesa industrial park looks exactly how you’d expect the workspace of a pilot turned artist to look. Bits of fuselage are strewn like glossy shrapnel surrounding a turbofan jet engine he’s converting into a table. Orphaned plane parts – doors, windows, seats – slouch against walls and material piles, waiting to be turned into photo frames, signs, furniture and custom art pieces. Aviation is clearly the inspiration for much of the Southwest Airlines pilot’s work, which he sells under his Wyldebyrd Art label.   

So it’s surprising when he pulls out one of his earliest pieces and it’s a photograph of a starfish standing upright against a backdrop of surf and sand. “The starfish, for me, is arms wide open,” he says as he raises his arms and extends his substantial wingspan (Lockhart stands 6’4’’) as if to open himself to the world. “What happens is, you put your arms out and there’s anxiety through your underarms. There’s a tension. What I do is try to encourage people to embrace the moment.”

Lockhart has been embracing the moment with his art, including securing a coveted spot in Custom Hangar: The Boeing Store. His reclaimed aircraft skin keychains, furniture and folk art were picked up by the aviation giant in December 2015.

“Boeing has 118,000 employees, 16 stores, the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world and billions of online sales,” Lockhart says. “And I am it. I’m X. There’s only one person that makes this, and that’s me. I love what other people do; I am not better. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do.”

Check out Lockhart’s work on wyldebyrd.com and follow him on Instagram @wyldebyrd for his market appearances.