Keith Ferris

KEITH FERRIS Aviation Artist/Author/Historian/Inventor and Lecturer Keith Ferris was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 14, 1929. As the son of a career Air Force Officer, Ferris spent much of his early years close to military aviation throughout the United States and England. While a youth he spent hours observing then state of the art aircraft such as the Boeing P-12, the aircraft his father flew as an instructor pilot. The time spent making meticulous observations was quickly translated into drawings and precisely crafted wooden models Ferris still proudly displays in his studio.

Ferris attended Texas A & M (Aeronautical Engineering), George Washington University and Corocran School of Art in Washington, D.C.

His art career began in 1947 with Air Force Training Publications Unit at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas as a civilian. He then spent five years with a St. Louis art studio which was under contract to the United States Air Force for training publications.

In 1956, as a freelance artist Ferris moved to the New York City area to be close to corporate clients and advertising agencies. Since that time Ferris has been contracted to bring his artistic knowledge, expertise, and abilities to numerous companies, organizations, and publishers both public and private. His list of clients is both impressive and extensive including but not limited to Air Force Association, Atlantic Richfield Oil Company, Boeing, General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop, Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky Aircraft of United Technologies Corporation, McGraw-Hill, Piper, Texaco, U.S. Historical Society, National Bank of Fort Sam Houston, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, Royal Saudi Air Force, National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution among numerous others.

Included in Ferris’s credits was the design of the 21 cent United States International Air Mail Postage Card for the United States Postal Service.

Ferris maintains an extensive library of thousands of aeronautical books, technical publications, periodicals, data files, photographs, slides, transparencies, and other historically relevant aviation memorabilia. This immense collection of artifacts serves as a guide in his creation of historically unparalleled and technically correct aviation art.

Ferris is active with several professional art and aviation groups including the Society of Illustrators, and the American Society of Aviation Artists, a group for which he was an original driving force and founder.

As a leading aviation artist for the military and aerospace industry Ferris has flown in nearly every jet aircraft in the United States Air Force inventory, including missions in Southeast Asia in the F-4E, F-105, and B-52. Ferris’s participation in Air Force activities has taken him to bases and operations in the United States, Europe, Atlantic, Pacific, Middle East, South Western Asia, Far East, Southeast Asia, Southwest Pacific, and Antarctica. Most recently Ferris participated in a C-17 Globemaster III operations in Bosnia. Ferris has also flown in a United States Air Force Thunderbird practice demonstration and several cross county flights in the F-100. He deployed to Europe with the team for their 1965 tour. In 1969 he was elected an honorary member of the team. These opportunities are made available to provide Ferris with the opportunity to gain as much knowledge of the subject as possible for his artistic documentation of aviation history.

As a Life Member of the Air Force Association, he has twice been the recipient of the Air Force Association’s Citation of Honor for his art Documentation of Air Force History. In 1984 he receive the rare honor of being elected for a life membership as an Honorary member of the Order of the Daedalians, the national fraternity of military pilots.

Ferris’ is most widely known for his 25’ x 75’ “Fortress Under Fire” mural which covers the entire back wall of the World War II Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D. C. The “Fortress Under Fire” mural is the centerpiece of his continuing 15 August, 1944 series of paintings. Additionally, in 1981 he completed a 20’ x 75’ mural depicting the evolution of jet aviation in the Museums Jet Aviation Gallery.

Ferris was a 1992 inductee into the aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey where he joins such pioneers as Anthony Fokker, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhardt, and astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra and Catherine Sullivan.

Keith Ferris resides with his wife and business partner, Peggy, in Morris Plains, New Jersey. They have two grown children: a daughter, Nancy and a son, Todd.