Born in 1943, Ken White worked as Richard Branson’s personal artist for 26 years. He has painted many distinctive murals for Virgin establishments across the globe with one of his most impressive commissions being the Scarlet Lady logo, which features on the nose of Virgin aircrafts.
Although White’s career as a professional illustrator and mural artist gained him recognition on an international level, his latest works on canvas focuses largely on local heritage and family history. Hailed as Swindon’s most famous artist by the Swindon Heritage magazine (see review below), White’s paintings depict social narratives and carry a traditional sense of community. White worked in the yards of the Great Western Railway as a teenager and many of his paintings portray scenes relating to industry and culture and how identity and social roles weave into the fabric of community.
Some of White’s work has a ghostly air; perspectives distort as buildings and figures slant off centre. This distortion of reality is comforted by the gentle humour of social interaction and we are reassured by White’s observant eye, which captures the familiarity of the everyday. White paints many scenes as recollections of his childhood, merging memories of people and places in a celebration of tradition and heritage.
White's work is part of the Swindon Museum & Art Gallery's permanent collection as well as being held in public and private collections across the UK and America. His paintings are featured in twenty different printed publications including Alan Aldridge's The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics. In 1982 he was commissioned by Jacob Rothschild to paint a 60-foot mural for the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, which is one of over one hundred murals that White has completed throughout his career. White was awarded the First Prize Award for Wiltshire Life's 2010 Artist of the Year