Biography

Tim O’Brien GAvA is a professional artist and author. Even though he creates a wide variety of subject matter, he is best known for his military, maritime and aviation themed art, plus his books, magazine features and talks where he promotes local and military history to a wider audience; working with many high profile clients such as the Westminster Collection, Royal Air Force Club, Waddington International Airshow, Cosford Airshow, Raytheon, The Media Group, Ian Allan Publishing, IPC Media, The RAF Charitable Trust and the Lincolnshire Lancaster Association as well as private individuals.

In Tim's own words:

"During my 35 year art career I have enjoyed working with a broad range of clients and subject matter, having started out as an illustrator in the world of advertising and marketing I now concentrate on painting fine art pictures.

But in between the hand-drawn architectural illustrations, line drawings for pub menus and wedding table-plans over the years, the subject matter I have really enjoyed the most is collaborating on projects with the UK Armed Forces such as the covers for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight yearbooks, boardroom paintings for 5(AC) Squadron, a Centenary painting for RAF Waddington and artwork to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Air Training Corps. I have also been invited to join the military in the field, spending several days at sea with the Royal Navy on board HMS Illustrious and Ocean and flying in a range of aircraft from the Sea King helicopter, VC10 and Tristar tankers through to historic aircraft such as the BBMF’s Dakota and Lancaster making mental observations, sketches and taking photos for use back in the studio.

However, what is more dear to me is the cherished memories of meeting veterans such as; Bill Reid VC, John Cruickshank VC and Ken Wallis. Chatting with actor Sir John Mills at the Mansion House when I was 18, having tea with Richard Todd at his home and being drawn by cartoonist Terence ‘Larry’ Parkes who is fondly remembered for his Carry-On film titles.

I have also been very fortunate to have received some awards for my art; the first recognition was in 1980 at the age of 10 from the 'National Children's Book Week' competition where I designed a book-making machine that was judged by ex-Goon, Harry Secombe who awarded it first place in its category. The second occasion happened nine years later when I received an award from HRH Prince Andrew in the 'Youth-in-the-Air' competition for a series of illustrated articles in the Air Cadet newspaper.

In 1990 I joined the Guild of Aviation Artists and was elected as a Full Member in 1998, exhibiting regularly at the Guild’s Annual exhibition at in London. Paintings have also been exhibited at other galleries such as Patchings Farm Art Centre and Long Acre Studios in Nottinghamshire. For my first solo exhibition, I was invited to display my work at the Royal Air Force Club in 2015, which turned out to be a commercially successful show. This resulted in me being admitted as an Affiliate Member of the RAF Club as an acknowledgment of my contribution to the world of aviation art and promoting the history of the RAF to new audiences.

Painting and drawing has always been a passion from an early age, having grown up in a creative family, it wasn't until I was 8 years old that I started drawing more seriously, initially copying comic book illustrations. Then in 1983, not long after I joined the Air Training Corps at RAF Newton, I received my first commission for an aviation painting from a fellow air cadet: A watercolour of two F-16s thundering down a rain-soaked runway.

Upon leaving school at 16, I worked with my father who took me on as his 'apprentice', training me into the family commercial art business by producing all aspects of illustration for advertising and print before going freelance in late 1991."

Tim is married with two children and enjoys rambling, helping out on the family allotment, history and collecting old cinema posters. He also gets involved with projects within his local community.

ABOVE: Tim presenting a painting of a 'Warthog' Canberra to Rory Underwood at the Bingham Business Club in 2012.

ABOVE: Tim with air cadets from 1936 (Newton) Sqn, signing books during the launch of his book Last Post at Newton in 2008. Photo: Newark Advertiser

ABOVE: Tim receiving his Youth in the Air certificate from HRH Prince Andrew at the Royal Aero Club in 1988.

ABOVE: Tim on board the BBMF Lancaster in May 1999 during an evening flight to perform a flypast over the 'Dam-Buster' dinner at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell.


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LINKS

You might also be interested in viewing the following websites:

The work of Tim's sister Kerry

http://www.kerryobrienart.co.uk/

The work of Tim's father, Michael

http://www.michaelobrienart.co.uk/