|Up an' Atom by Hal Olsen
|Black and White Edition $12.95 Retail plus S&H ($4.00) USD
x 8.5" (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
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BISAC: Biography & Autobiography / Military
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Artist Hal Olsen, the last living World War II Nose Art visual artist, known and honored internationally for his
artwork, describes in his autobiography, Up An’ Atom, a critical time in his life as a young man growing up in New Jersey
and serving in the United States Navy during World War II. He tells about how he began painting his way
into history over 70 years ago using bare buns and bust lines to lift the spirits and morale of American aviators.
An enemy bombing, blowing up a fellow artist’s paint supply, and having $50.00 worth of his own oil paints, launched
Hal into his Nose Art painting career while on a Mariana island in the Pacific, serving as a 3rd Class Aviation Machinist
Mate in the U.S. Navy.
Nose Art, a form of artistic graffiti painted on the nose
of airplanes, began to flourish in the time known as the Great War—World War I (1913-1918). During
the World War II years, (1941-1945), Nose Art expanded in many forms to almost every flying aircraft in the American military
and is still visible on many of today’s military aircraft. Hal did Nose Art on an F-111 at Pease
Air Force Base in New Hampshire in 1989, painting Necessary Evil on the inside of the front wheel well flap.
Olsen also painted other forms of fine art to include landscapes, portraits and military items such as Navy ships, and three
of his most famous paintings, the Enola Gay, Bochscar and Up An’ Atom, are of the three B-29 bombers involved in the
atomic bomb drops on Japan in 1945. ‘The final painting I made was Enola Gay because the Air Force
wanted her done right.’
Many of his paintings are in permanent museum collections with some pieces
being held in private collections. Included are the U.S. Navy; Museum of New Mexico,-Santa Fe; Roswell
Museum, Roswell, New Mexico; and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Science Museum, Los Alamos New Mexico. Hal’s
artwork is also featured in Galerie Des Mondes (the Worlds Gallery) John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City, New York; the
Fine Arts Museum of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico; the Commemorative
Air Force American Air Power Heritage Museum, Midland, Texas; Admiral Nimitz Museum, Fredericksburg, Tennessee; the National
Atomic Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Los Alamos Historical Museum, Los Alamos, New Mexico and the War in the Pacific National
Historical Park, Guam
His awards include the Prix de Paris, received in 1961 at the Duncan Gallery in Paris, France,
and first Prize for his exhibit in the World Wide Nuclear Art Exhibition, Washington D.C. He also served
on the State Art Council and the Artist Advisor Commission of the Museum of New Mexico. Hal and his wife
Estelle are still happily married, living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.