20 January 2017
Swindon’s Mural Men: Ken White and David Bent
I am the mural man, I come from far away and I can paint – yes I can paint. What can you paint – I can paint murals!
‘It’s a small world’. A cliché? Yup. But true. And listeners it doesn’t get much truer than this!
In the early days of this blog I devised a list of things to celebrate about Swindon. And on that list I placed Ken White. A son of Swindon, Ken has made his mark on the world literally and figuratively with his artistic talent.
Famed for his murals and for being the creator of Virgin airline’s red lady emblem Ken has far more bristles to his brush than that. You can find out a bit more about Ken here: https://swindonian.me/2013/07/13/ten-things-i-like-about-swindon-no-5-ken-white-swindons-mural-man/ and read more about Ken’s murals here: http://www.kenwhitemurals.co.uk/home
Now, at the time I was writing about Ken I knew nothing of the existence in Swindon of David Bent. Had I done I would certainly have included him and his art on my celebratory list.
David is a Born again Swindonian like me – funnily enough I think we’ve both been here around the same number of years.
David too is a talented and renowned artist being particularly well-known for his aviation art. Though he too, like Ken, has many brushes in many paint pots. Here’s a link to a couple of the posts on this blog concerning David: https://swindonian.me/2014/09/24/david-bent-choosing-swindon/ and: https://swindonian.me/2015/11/02/movement-2000-art-collection-seeks-home/
I’m fortunate in recent years to have got to know David, and his fabulous wife Carole, very well. And it was on a recent visit to David’s studio -that I learned that he too had been a mural painter when he was a much younger man.
In a wonderful bit of symmetry that life, the universe and everything (42) is full of it turns out there was a time when, unknown and unbeknownst to each other, they were painting murals in London with only a street or two between them. David was working as a youth worker specialising in art project work and Ken was working on one of his famous commissions for Richard Branson – he of the Virgin empire. As Carole herself said, it’s not impossible that they drank in the same pubs.
And now here they are, living in the same town, still painting. Though no muriels sadly. That said – if anyone is offering I’ve got a garden wall crying out…
The image below shows an article in a 1979 issue of The Telegraph featuring both David Bent and Ken White painting their murals in London at the same time. Like I said – it’s a small world. Albeit with big murals. And pots and pots of pots of paint.
See more of their work …
See more of David’s murals – and explore his other art work here: http://davidbentstudio.com/gallery/retrospective/murals.html
So two mural men, two world-class artists in one town. One born and bred here. One choosing here. Either way, what’s not to celebrate about that?