High flying Royal Aeronautical Society award for Swindon artist David Bent

By Ben Fitzgerald - 5 January 2016

Opinion and Features

Old Town based artist David Bent was one of only three people to receive the prestigious Honorary Companionship award from the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2015.

swindon artist david bent

©Calyx Pictures. David Bent in his studio

It is the highest distinction for those whose professional achievements are not exclusively in aerospace, but who have made a substantial contribution to the aerospace profession.

Sir Roger Bone, President of Boeing UK (2005 to 2014 ), and Air Commodore Charles Clarke are the other worthy recipients of last year’s award, adding to a list of just 63 stretching back to 1920.

The RAeS citation says the award to David has been made ‘in recognition of his exceptional contribution in transforming aviation art with iconic paintings, bringing aviation, technology and art together to a completely new audience while, at the same time, promoting aerospace far and wide.’

David said: "I’m delighted to receive the award. It inspires me to continue to use my experience and enthusiasm for the subject to express myself in new ways and to encourage others to enjoy art and aerospace "

His talent, tenacity and teamwork has seen David exhibit at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Farnborough International and at the Dubai airshows.

david bent, swindon artist

©Calyx Pictures. David Bent working on a painting of the Red Arrows at Bournemouth Air Festival. Below, David on the clifftops at Bournemouth

swindon artist david bentHe has had a long relationship with the RAF Red Arrows and in 2013 held a solo retrospective exhibition at the RAF Museum Hendon. David's partner, Carole arranged for 60 children from Churchfields Academy in Swindon to visit the exhibition and have a surprise meeting with Red Arrows’ pilots. 

In 2016 David will be participating in the Swindon's 175 Made in Swindon Art Trail. Solo exhibitions will also be held at the Russell Cotes Art Gallery in Bournemouth and St George's in Bristol.

Sarah Newman, Programmes Officer at the Russell-Cotes Gallery said: “It is very fitting that the three year partnership between David and the Bournemouth Air Festival will culminate in an exhibition of his superb aviation work here in 2016.

"This new and compelling exhibition combines contemporary Bournemouth, the beach, Air Festival and the Red Arrows, with his aviation passion, colour, creativity, vibrancy and is unique ability to capture the art of flight like no other, all under the roof of the historic and unique Russell-Cotes Museum and Art Gallery.”

Equally enthusiastic about David's work is Suzanne Rolt, CEO St Georges, Bristol, who said: "With Bach as its starting point, 'The Art of Flight' soars off into the skies and space, building programmes around fugue and adding these to music and events that celebrate Bristol's status as home of the British aviation industry and the 150th anniversary year of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

"St George's is delighted to be able to include this special exhibition by leading modern aviation artist David Bent as part of our November Art of Flight line up. His captivating work is perfectly suited to our theme and we are sure that it will be a big hit with visitors to our venue. The exhibition is scheduled to be held at the same time as the world premiere of a new piece of work commissioned by one of the UK's leading composers, Graham Fitkin."

David welcomes visits to his studio by appointment



Pictured top by Richard Wintle of Calyx, David presenting his book Timeless featuring his Red Arrows inspired artwork to teachers from schools across Swindon in January 2015. Below, David's Timeless piece
david bent artwork Timeless

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