David was brought up in Dover and aviation influence came at an early age as his father was founder of the Dover Model Aircraft Club. David studied art at Wolverhampton College in the late 1960s and early 1970s, receiving a mix of traditional and avant garde training reflective of the changing times. Following graduation, he earned a living in social work and teaching until he became a professional artist in 1979. A chance visit in 2003 to the Royal International Air Tatoo brought aircraft back into David’s life and into his art.
David’s unique style of geometric shapes, bold colours, authentic detail and Boy’s Own bravado brings aviation and modern art together for a celebration of the excitement, freedom and beauty of flight. In so doing, his art crosses generational, gender and cultural barriers and reaches new, younger audiences. David’s work has been widely exhibited including at the RAF Museum, at the National Memorial Arboretum (see photograph of David with his wife Carole) and internationally. “In recognition of his exceptional contribution to transforming aviation art”, David was made an Honorary Companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2015, the first time in thirty years that this accolade had been awarded.
David’s original photocollage of ‘Jubilee Diamond’ was inspired by his collaboration with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, and brings out the precision and beauty of display formation flying. Initially working as Artist in Residence to the Red Arrows, today there continues a positive and enduring goodwill relationship and David remains closely associated with the team as a celebrated aviation artist. David has produced a number of striking images of the team over the years and his work adorns the crew briefing room at RAF Scampton, the Lincolnshire home of the Red Arrows.
The original photocollage of ‘A Beautiful Jigsaw’ was inspired following an invitation to David to see Vulcan XH558 during its restoration. This aircraft entered service in 1960, during the Cold War, and was the last remaining Vulcan in the RAF when it was retired in 1993. XH558 last flew in 2015 and is now an inspiring visitor attraction.
To see more of David's work, please visit www.davidbentstudio.com
The images of David Bent are copyright of Carole Bent. The image of David and Carole Bent is courtesy of the National Memorial Arboretum.