HIS vivid and unique depictions of the aviation world are sought after by everyone from Arab billionaires to former Spitfire aces.
David Bent has had a meteoric rise since his creations first went on display in a B&Q tent at the Royal International Art Tattoo in Fairford 11 years ago.
A collection of the acclaimed works will now travel to London for a year-long retrospective at the RAF Museum entitled Fresh Air.
The former youth worker and teacher has already had a spell as artist-in-residence with the Red Arrows, having formed a close relationship after its pilots were impressed by a painting of their Hawk jets flying through a bluebell wood.
“As an artist in love with aviation, I am honoured that such an historic and brilliant place as the RAF Museum is hosting this exhibition of my work.” he said.
“It is a real privilege.”
David, who inherited his love of aviation from his father, creates about four paintings a year at his studio in Old Town despite his imagination being constantly over-run with ideas.
The intricate, precise and innovative works have already attracted a string of notable and influential fans worldwide.
Among them are Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, brother of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, and a pilot from New Zealand who was David’s first customer at Fairford.
But the retrospective, comprising 34 pieces, will also be angled to young people through activities and trails and a collaboration with Churchfields Academy, in Old Walcot.
Headteacher Steve Flavin said: “David is a great artist and we are delighted to work with him.
“We will make sure our students get to see David at work in his studio, as well as visiting the gallery in London. His work is stunning artistically, but also hugely relevant to our pupils for the technological aspect and the rich history that it covers.
“We’ll be working with David across a number of subjects, and believe his international profile and adventures can inspire our students.”
David’s friends – including heroes of the skies who have piloted planes, including the Vulcan, Hawk and Spitfire – have also volunteered to help inspire children.
Andrew Cormack, keeper of visual arts, medals and uniforms at the RAF Museum, said: “The RAF Museum is delighted to host an exhibition of the work of aviation artist David Bent. He brings a new look to the subject, at times witty and charming, at others subtly menacing, but imbued with respect and affection for the Royal Air Force and for all who conduct their business in the heavens.
“He combines in his art a deep knowledge of aviation with a quirky view of flying.”
The exhibition runs from May 21 to June 30 at the RAF Museum, in Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL.