Craig Tinder is an aviation and military artist who embeds relic treasures from the past with his artwork. Craig’s passion for military history began while hanging on the fences at the Reno Air Races in the 1980s. Having an opportunity each year to meet great aviators such as Pappy Boyington, Mike Kawato, and R.A. “Bob” Hoover sparked a lifelong interest in aviation and military history.
With a global career in user-interface design engineering, digital illustration, and product management, he began illustrating aircraft as a side hustle. His early aircraft illustrations were noticed and he created artwork for heroes such as World War II Medal of Honor Recipient James E. Swett, Clarence ‘Bud’ Anderson, Archie Donahue, Dean Caswell, Chuck Yeager, Robert Wright, and many others. While residing in Houston, TX he became a part of the warbird restoration community and served with the Commemorative Air Force as a certified Loadmaster and maintenance operator on one of only four B-17 Flying Fortresses still flying.
Craig specializes in combining his highly detailed illustrations with a historical fragment of an aircraft, ship, or vehicle to create artwork that is educational and highly collectible. With a focus mainly on WWI to modern-day, he has amassed a significant collection of historical relics ranging from America's oldest flying fighter aircraft (Nieuport 28) to modern-day fighter jets. He works closely with museums, restoration shops, and private collectors around the world to locate and certify the provenance of the various artifacts he includes in his work. Without artists like Craig, many of these old bits of metal and wood would be lost collecting dust or eventually get disposed of without being repurposed for a beneficial purpose.
In a sort of dichotomy, to create artwork that focuses on a historical subject matter, Craig utilizes sophisticated, cutting-edge technology. His illustration technique shifted from traditional acrylic and oils years ago to a fully-digital painting process that incorporates a drawing tablet and painting software instead of a paintbrush. To mount the relic and depict the story behind the artwork, Craig designs high-resolution, metallic foil "data plates" which often include detailed map illustrations and images regarding the origins of each relic. Even the Limited Edition Certificates of Authenticity he mounts to the back of each art piece are crafted using a high-powered laser engraving machine. The resulting art pieces he creates are completely hand-crafted and are often limited to less than 30 in the edition.
"My objective is to educate my audience by sharing those sacrifices made throughout history. I attempt to express this by creating artwork that draws a viewer in, includes a story they can learn from, and embeds a relic from history they can physically touch.
It really is- history shared through art."