Aviation Art by Vladimir Urbanek

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB, BL581, RY-T, 313 Czechoslovak Squadron RAF, pilot F/Lt Karel Vykoukal.

Vladimír Urbánek, owner of Aviation Art, is a skilled, self-taught, artist based in Prague, whose passion is painting and drawing aircraft. An interview with Vladimír, and examples from his portfolio, follows:

Stephen Stead’s Spitfire, in the livery of Otto Smík DU-N, when it flew over Prague at the conclusion of the Winged Lion unveiling ceremony on 17 June 2014.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB, BL973, RY-S, 313 Czechoslovak Squadron, RAF, 25th April 1942, operation Circus 137, pilot F/Lt Stanislav Fejfar.

You are a self taught artist, can you say what made you get interested in aviation painting?

Before Aviation Art I have painted all „classical“ themes. With my general interest in aviation, it was only going to be a matter of the time before I progressed onto aviation subjects. But maybe the first impulse I had was when I found some websites with renowned aviation artists artworks and I just said to mself „hmm, I like this very much, could I do the same?“. Then I just choose one artwork (possibly Corsairs over Rabaul from Robert Taylor) and tried to copy it. In fact the same approach from my general classic-painting learning procedure. Copying the old masters, this is the right way in the beginning for all art themes and techniques.

310 Sqn Spitfire flown by Sgt. Karel Janata.

Supermarine Spitfire LF.MK.IXC, MJ291, NN-N, 310 Squadron RAF
June 1944, pilot F/O Otto Smík

Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, P3143, NN-D, 310 Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron RAF,
7th September 1940, pilot Sgt. Bohumír Fürst.

What is your favourite aircraft to paint and why?

This is realy hard question because from my point of view, all aircraft deserve to be painted. But my most favorite aircraft are the FW-190 D, the Lavochkin La-5 and 7 and also all MiG versions from the jet era.
In the case of the Lavochkins it is perhaps because of the combination of powerfull radial engines and unusual wooden constructure of the aircraft in very clear design shapes. In the case of the „Dora“ [FW-190], I can’t explain it exactly – this aircraft looks very elegant for me. Well and in the case of MiGs jets it is clear – here in Czech or Czechoslovakia served a couple of thousands of these aircraft and many of them were also produced here in Czech based on licence.

B-24 Liberator GR Mk.VI, BZ987
311 Czechoslovak Squadron, RAF Coastal Command.

B-24 Liberator GR Mk.V
311 Czechoslovak Squadron, RAF Coastal Command.

B-24 Liberator GR Mk.V, BZ751
311 Czechoslovak Squadron, RAF Coastal Command.

Why did you become interested in painting aircraft of the Czech RAF squadrons in WW2?

Without any pathos it is probably a question of some kind of patriotism – I have read all the books and possible resources about our pilots and their service during WWII and I just want give tribute to their service and their lives this way. Many of them were very important in the scale of the whole RAF, or even all WWII, with so many very interesting and worthy stories which I am trying to record somehow through the artworks to be not forgotten. Also I think that without some concrete base you could quickly be „lost“ in all the aviation themes – there are so many interesting aircraft and stories that you can´t choose anyone in particular. I am happy I can focus my artwork on Czech and Czechoslovak aviation. It has a great tradition here in Czech untill these days, fpr many periods we were on the top of the whole industry on a world scale.

Vickers Wellington Mk.I, No. 311 ´Czechoslovak´ Bomber Squadron RAF

Vickers Wellington Mk.IC, 311th Czechoslovak bombing squadron RAF, September 1940.

Vickers Wellington Mk.IC, KX-T, L7844
311 Czechoslovak Squadron, RAF Bomber Command, August 1940

Vickers Wellington Mk.IC, KX-R, L7783, 311 Czechoslovak Squadron, RAF Bomber Command,
September 1940, piloted by W/Cmdr Josef Ocelka DFC.

Of the Czech RAF paintings you have done and are on display in this article, there are more of 311 Sqn. Is this because you find the Wellington or Liberator more challenging to paint or do you have a particular interest in 311?

I am trying not to prioritize any of Czech squadrons so this is mostly coincidence.
Also I am trying not to focus on only the most popular persons or themes but the ordinary ones as well. Maybe WWII fans could know some most popular Czech pilots like Fajtl, Peřina, František but also other ones that did their hard and dangerous service as well. The work of all of them was very important even it wasn´t often full of heroic performances.

Hurricane of 312 Sqn. RAF, pilot Alois Vašátko.

S/Ldr František Fajtl DFC during 'Circus 157', 5th May 1942

Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, No 312 (Czech) Fighter Squadron, 8th October 1940

With your paintings which, because of the time and materials involved in producing, you have to consider the commercial viability of that painting – basically will it sell well. But are there other reasons which have motivated you do a painting?

Painting is still primary just my hobby as is all aviation in general ☺
It is very creative process with great refreshing and self-satisfaction effects when the work goes right. I like very much when the painting grows up. When it starting to looks like I want to and starting to looks as a real thing.

Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IF,R2248, WM-S, 68 Night Fighter Squadron RAF,
October 1941, aircrew - pilot Miloslav Mansfeld / radar-operator Slavomíl Janaček

Spitfire of 312 Czechoslovak Sqn., RAF.

D-Day Spitfire of 312 Sqn. RAF.

Details about Vladimír’s Aviation Art portfolio and picture sales here.

This entry was posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Aircraft, Not Forgotton. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Aviation Art by Vladimir Urbanek

  1. Chris caple says:

    Really outstanding work a pleasure to look at

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