Others Just May Not Understand
by ANN Correspondent Pete Tobin
Virginia Bader sells the type of limited-edition aviation art
that pilots didn't know that they couldn't live without... until
they saw it hanging on her walls.
Granted, married male pilots may find that their wives don't
understand their sudden zest to be an art connoisseur, or agree
with said pilot's taste. From this writer's perspective, though,
the dramatic limited-edition pieces Virginia acquires are
absolutely worth the effort of moving a home office to the
basement... just to collect and proudly display any of Virginia's
Virginia's story begins 29 years ago, when she crossed over the
pond from England with just 66 paintings, a six-week visa, very
little money and only one picture of an aircraft.
While having lunch at the Mayflower hotel in Washington D.C.,
she happened to bump several members of a national aviation group.
On a whim, she asked them if they would like to see an aviation
themed art show. That encounter led to a life-long friendship with
the late aviation writer Jeff Ethell, and several more shows.
Throughout the mid 70's Virginia traveled across America from
air show to air show, selling her pieces from the back her beloved
Ford Pinto. She says she had found a niche in the art world that no
one else was focused on -- aviation art.
Virginia filled that niche very well... and now owns a 1,200
square foot gallery located on the grounds of John Wayne Orange
County airport and a United States passport.
It is possible to say that Virginia came by her love of aviation
art genetically. She is the cousin of famed World War II fighter
pilot Sir Douglas Bader, who served in the Royal Air Force...
despite having lost both his legs in 1938.
Virginia's personal cockpit experiences boils down to 10 minutes
of stick time in a B-24 over the Queen Mary in Long Beach,
California and a single ride in an A7 Corsair.
Bader goes to great lengths to see that her publisher
authenticate every signature on any of her multiple signature
"If a person buys a piece of history from me, I see to it that
they are actually buying historic signature prints which will
appreciate in value because of the significance of the pilots
depicted in the limited edition." she says. "I am proud to say that
my customers put a great deal of faith in me."