Neil Hipkiss - Aviation Artist

Biography - title

Neil Hipkiss at easel working on commission for Lockheed Martin
At my easel - working on a commission for Lockheed Martin
My grandfather worked in Spitfire production during the war and my father served in the RAF, so from a very young age I developed an interest in aircraft. Naturally,  when I started painting, aircraft became my chosen subject.

Aviation has generally remained the main subject of my work however I also paint other subjects with a keen interest in motorsport.

My preferred choice of painting medium is traditional oils on stretched canvas. Personally I feel that modern media such as acrylic paints do not provide the same feel or level of quality to an original painting that oils do. I also work in fast drying Alkyd oils for commercial work or other projects with tight deadlines.

Generally I endeavor to create an overall atmosphere, mood or theme to a painting, rather than merely producing a typical aircraft or car portrait and I enjoy painting background details as much as the main object of a picture.

My paintings hang in collections around the world including the RAF Club, Lockheed Martin and the private collections of pilots, an Oscar winning film director and an English Rally Champion to name just a few. 
I am a Full Member of the Guild of Aviation Artists (GAvA) and have exhibited numerous times at their annual 'Aviation Paintings of the Year Exhibition'. In 2015, as part of the AgustaWestland centenary celebrations, my painting 'Joint Force' was awarded the prestigious Westland Centenary Prize
Growing up, my idols were pilots, astronauts and racing drivers. My bedroom walls were covered with posters of Mosquitoes, Harriers, Tornadoes and Rally Cars and from my ceiling hung various models from a Spitfire to an Apollo moon rocket. I still build models now but these days I use them as an aid for painting. 

When I was a young child my father would tell me about going to the Farnborough Airshows during the golden era of British jet development to watch Canberra, Javelin, and delta wing development aircraft and to see Neville Duke break the sound barrier in a Hunter. I started watching airshows when I was just about old enough to walk. Halfpenny Green Airfield was local to where we lived and annual airshows and air races were held there. It was from listening to my father and being taken to airshows in my early years to see and hear Lightning’s and Vulcan’s that my fascination with aircraft grew.
Neil Hipkiss aged 13 at Farnborough Airshow
Meeting my idols at the Farnborough Airshow - aged 13
My aptitude for drawing was encouraged by my parents and art teachers alike. Although I wasn’t very old at the time I can distinctly remember my father, who was a good sketch artist, teaching me how to draw an aeroplane. I was drawing a Mosquito in my childish manner, which resulted in the wings being at slightly odd angles. My father produced a sketch showing me how to construct a perspective of the fuselage and how the wings were then fitted and lined through. To this day it was the best art lesson I ever had. At school I excelled at art and technical drawing and won the award for `best artistic achievement’ in my final year.

My first aviation picture of any importance was created for an art exam. I had to choose from several titles and selected ‘Scene through a window’ to work with. I produced a drawing looking out of a Tornado cockpit as it flew down a mountainous valley. A grade `A’ was achieved and my association with aviation art was affirmed. My art teacher insisted that upon leaving school I should pursue art as a profession.

I started to paint with oils at the age of 19. I had no formal tuition, I just picked up some brushes and had a go – a Spitfire being my first natural choice of subject. The first paintings were of course below standard but I persevered by trying different techniques until I achieved satisfactory results.

I started exhibiting and selling paintings through local galleries gaining regular sales before setting up my own website. Various art publishers have approached me over the years but I’ve never been convinced that it is the right route for me and I remain an independent artist. My website has enabled me to showcase my work to the World and my art now hangs in collections from Canada to New Zealand.

I’m blessed with a vivid imagination, as all artists should be, and have more ideas than I will ever have time to paint. I live in a rich environment for inspiration, in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside, close to the famous hill climb course at Shelsley Walsh (claimed to be the oldest motorsport venue in the world) and also on a low level training flight path for the Royal Air Force and Army Air Corp. It is quite inspiring to be working at my easel painting an Apache helicopter or a Tornado when one fly’s past the window. The only downside is that I keep jumping up to watch the aircraft instead of getting on with work!
Biography - GAvA Exhibition 2011 - Neil Hipkiss Neil Hipkiss GAvA

Aviation Artist - Automotive Artist - Enthusiast

Aviation Paintings of the Year Exhibition
1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016 & 2018

'Westland Centenary Prize' (2015)
Runner up 'Nockolds Trophy' (2015 & 2018)
Runner up 'Wilkinson Sword Poignard' (2015)
Highly Commended for `Aviation Painting of the Year Award’ (2011)
Highly Commended for `The Royal Air Force Museum Prize’ (2011)

 Aviation Artist, Automotive Artist & Enthusiast