THIS year marks the 50th anniversary of world famous aerobatics team the Red Arrows, who will be the star attraction at this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo.
And as the team tours the country making special appearances, a Swindon artist is central to the celebrations.
David Bent, of Old Town, has collaborated with the fliers since 2007, during which time he has produced dozens of paintings of the iconic Hawk T1A aircraft.
Much of this work has been put together in a book in partnership with watchmakers Breitling, who have made a special anniversary watch.
Everyone buying a watch will also be given a copy of the book, and David says he is delighted to be part of the celebrations.
He said: “It has been a great honour and privilege for me to spend time with the fantastic Royal Air Force Aerobatics team, the Red Arrows, and use my skills to create the collection of work that appears in this celebratory book.
“I wanted this to be an historical document of progress from when I was working from a little tent at Fairford to being allowed to work so closely with the Red Arrows.
“I am proud of the book and being allowed to be a part of the celebrations for the anniversary.”
David is one of the world’s leading aviation artists and his work with the RAF began more than a decade ago. He started working with the Red Arrows after they saw one of his paintings and asked him to collaborate on a number of projects. He has provided the artwork for RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) posters since 2011 and was the first living artist to have an exhibition at the RAF museum.
The watch and book were launched at a reception in Bond Street in May.
David said: “I think the Red Arrows are an icon of great Britishness.
“No matter what age people are they are still intrigued and excited by them.
“I want to thank Brietling for allowing this to happen. It has been an excellent collaboration with great teamwork and I am pleased with the result.”
Squadron Leader Jim Turner, the team leader, said: “David has had a long association with the Red Arrows and his superb pieces are much admired by the team, even being displayed at our home of RAF Scampton in Licolnshire.
“This stunning book, where so much of David’s outstanding Red Arrows-inspired art is on display, has been brought to life thanks to another key supporter of the team, Breitling.”
- Details of how to see the Red Arrows and other teams on display at RIAT can be found by visiting www.airtattoo.com.