Domenic DeNardo (1929-) is an aviation artist and general aviation pilot. He was born in Providence in 1929, and
has been fascinated with airplanes since he was a child. His father, a mechanic and toolmaker as well as an ardent
motorcyclist in his early years, built an aircraft powered by an Indian motorcycle engine in upstate New York. Even
though an attempt to fly it from a snow-covered field failed, the story of the effort fueled young Domenic’s curiosity and passion for aviation.
He vividly remembers seeing the dirigible Hindenburg flying over his home enroute to Lakehurst, New Jersey in
1937. The sight of this awesome airship was indelibly imprinted into the memory of an impressionable 8-year-old.
“I watched early monoplanes and new Douglas DC-3s fly directly overhead from Boston to Providence,” DeNardo
recalls. Awed by the wonder of flight, he had the opportunity for his first airplane ride a year or so later, in a Stinson
During the war, he was obsessed with drawing military aircraft that flew from nearby airfields, such as F4U Corsairs
and P-47 Thunderbolts. He began building and flying model airplanes of his own design.
While attending Mt. Pleasant High School in 1948, he designed and constructed a functioning wind tunnel and a
model speed plane that won first place in the state Science Fair. In the same year, the 18-year old DeNardo captured first place in the New England model airplane speed competition, sponsored by the Providence Joumal/Bulletin. The official clocked speed: 150 mph.
“The individual with the heart and desire to be the best, not only as a professional, but as an individual.”
-Advertising Club of Boston Citation, 2003
During his model airplane days he noticed the aviation artwook of Joe Kotula on Model Airplane News covers. The
memories of those paintings and drawings served as an inspiration somewhat later in his life. One of the visitors to the science fair was aeronautical engineer Harold Sadler, who was so impressed with DeNardo’s work that he offered him a summer job The company was none other than Gazda Engineering, owned and run by Antoine Gazda. He worked for Gazda part-time, weekends and nights, into the early 1950s.
DeNardo graduated from Mt. Pleasant in January of 1949. Through a scholarship, he took four years of evening graphic art and design classes at the Rhode Island School of Design. He then studied aeronautical engineering
at Rhode Island State College, where he was a member of the ROTC. He also joined the Civil Air Patrol.
In January, 1956, DeNardo took the plunge and opened his own commercial art studio. After 40 years in the commercial art business, and after witnessing the changes brought about by the introduction of of compute generated art, DeNardo decided that the time was right for a change. He gradually phased himself out of advertising art and began devoting his time to fine art aviation painting.
In 1996, he was accepted as an Artist Fellow member in the prestigious American Society of Aviation Artists. “The fact that I find great joy in painting aircraft (and the natural arena in which they fly) made this an easy and
natural transition for me,” said DeNardo. DeNardo particularly enjoys the research required to recreate and record
an historical event. He strives for accuracy in every respect: time of day, sky conditions, setting, aircraft type and
markings and much more.