Airplanes, Art and a Chicken Making Airplane Art

For many aviation enthusiasts airplanes are like fine art. We all have our favorites airplanes and airplanes we find aesthetically pleasing … for me its the Lockheed L-1011.

For one aviation enthusiast … OK … let me try that again … for one significant aviation geek extraordinaire, the melding of airplanes and art has spawned an incredible collection of aircraft illustrations.

Dr. JP Santiago, MD, lives an unassuming life by day in a family practice … and by night his alter ego, an aviation geek and artist of epic proportions, creates incredibly detailed and realistic aircraft illustrations, many of which stretch the imaginations of hard-core airplane geeks … and one of which adorns the office walls of multi-billionaire, businessman and former Presidential Candidate H. Ross Perot.

On the surface the work JP Santiago creates, using the company name “The Chicken Works,” may seem a bit ordinary, but the majority of the work, created using Adobe Illustrator, is far from ordinary.

The subtle details of each aircraft, laid against the subtle blue background with opaque livery often give the full details of the aircraft depicted as well as some text regarding the airline’s use of the aircraft.

Beyond the exquisite details related to depicting of historical aircraft, Santiago’s Chicken Works illustrations also often take an unusual turn with his series of “What If” aircraft.  The “What If” series of illustrations depict aircraft and airline combinations that never were, or airline liveries that were never painted on to an airline’s aircraft.

The “What If” series of illustrations from The Chicken Works takes significant time to imagine an aircraft and livery combination that never was, and even more skill to carefully lay that livery onto an aircraft without any guide on how it should look. With no guide to work with, but having to stay within the parameters of real aircraft and a livery that did exist, on other aircraft, is a brilliant combination of skill and imagination.

…so what illustration by JP Santiago hangs in Ross Perot’s office? His first print, created in February 2007 of a Braniff Boeing 707-320C that was chartered by Ross Perot in December 1969 to bring gifts to POW’s held captive in Vietnam.

Below are five of my favorite illustrations created by JP Santiago … and I’ll tell you why in order that they are displayed below

Cathay Pacific DC-10-30 with 1983 Cathay Pacific livery. I love this “What If” illustration because not only did the airline never fly the DC-10, but they were dedicated to the L-1011.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 727-200 with current livery. While Southwest Airlines is famous for operating an all 737 fleet, the airline did briefly fly leased 727s in the late 1970s and again in the early 1980s. This “What If” illustration depicts the unique look of the current Southwest Airlines livery on an aircraft that never even flew with a proper Southwest livery all.

PSA DC-10-10 with 1970s livery. Much like the Cathay Pacific DC-10-30, I enjoy this “What If” illustration due to the fact that PSA never flew the DC-10, this airline was dedicated to flying the Lockheed L-1011.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 727-247 with current livery. Delta Air Lines flew the Boeing 727 from 1972 to 2003, having flown 184 727s in its fleet … but they had all been retired from service before Delta released its current livery. This “What If” livery depicts a Boeing 727-247, acquired from Western Airlines during the airlines merger, painted in the current “Angry Widget” livery.

Western Airlines Boeing 707-347C “Indian Head” Livery. This illustration is a beautiful rendering of a classic airline livery with text that lends its self to the historical background of the aircraft.

Brings from JP Santiago’s The Chicken Works generally range from US$15 to US$40 depending on the size of the print.

Visit The Chicken Works online at, and follow JP Santiago on Twitter at @SentinelChicken

Happy Flying!

(Click Images Below To Enlarge Image)


  1. I was working in Hong Kong in this period with CX – they never ever operated DC10 aircraft. Only Tristars!

  2. David,

    The Cathay Pacific illustration is a “What If” model aircraft. If you read the blog posting you’ll note that the majority of the illustrations were “What If” artist conceptions of either aircraft never flown by an airline, or a livery that was never applied to an aircraft.

    Happy Flying!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *