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Tomahawk Gallery (Gjerstson)

Tomahawk at Wikipedia

Image credit: General Dynamics

Image source: SDASM Archives

Artist Profile: Roy Gjertson

Born in Minnesota in 1925, Roy served as a crewman on Army Air Corps Liberators during World War II. Returning to civilian life, Roy and his wife Elnar Fay settled in San Pedro. After taking art lessons, Roy worked for several aviation companies in the Los Angeles area in the fifties and sixties. Accepting  a position at Convair, Roy and his family moved to San Diego in 1967.

Roy’s candy-colored art of past, present and future projects enlivened General Dynamics reports, brochures and proposals for over two decades. Roy’s paintings are loose, almost cartoony but beautifully composed.

The artist at work in the studio.

Roy’s incredible paintings of fly-back boosters Convair developed for the Shuttle Program were part of the inspiration for this blog. 

Demonstrative of his range, Roy’s more technical illustrations are sombre and atmospheric. The pop art colours give way to a muted palette and his lighting shifts towards a chiaroscuro look.

Roy retired in 1992. A large number of Roy’s works were donated to the San Diego Air & Space Museum when General Dynamics shuttered the San Diego division in 1993, including these two particularly ominous paintings of the Rockwell B-1 Lancer. 

Roy passed away in 2018, survived by children Erica and Dennis and Dennis’ wife Kathy. Elnar Fay died in 2006. They’re interred together at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Image source: SDASM Archives

Convair Model 200

Convair Model 200 at Wikipedia

Image credit: Ryan Aeronautical

Image source: SDASM Archives


Image credit: NASA

Image source: SDASM Archives

Program Objectives

original slide:

Shuttle Program at Astronautix

Image credit: NASA

Image source: Mike Acs