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