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Mark Postlethwaite

Mark Postlethwaite

Born in Leicestershire, England in 1964 , like many of his friends, Mark had only one ambition during his school years, and that was to fly fast jets with the RAF.  At the age of 13 he was devastated to discover that his eyesight was less than perfect and therefore unsuitable for military flying.  This discovery completely knocked him for six and it took him years to decide what else he wanted to do with his life.  Eventually after leaving school at 16 and working for the Co-op for two years, Mark managed to get a job in photography, thanks mainly to a portfolio he had built up whilst working on a free local newspaper.

Photography soon became a good outlet for his inborn creativity and during his 10 years in the business he worked in most aspects of professional photography in London, Leicester, and Nottingham, shooting everything from cat food to lingerie.

Mark started to paint aircraft on canvas at the age of 17 as a hobby. A lifelong interest in flying and aviation history  together with his professional knowledge of light through his career as a photographer, soon combined to produce work of the highest standards in this exacting field. In 1987, he became the first ever Artist in residence at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon in what was the first major exhibition of his work.

At the age of 27, Mark was elected to become the youngest Full Member of the Guild of Aviation Artists and shortly after, left photography to make a full time profession in aviation art. His knowledge of his subject was put to the test only a month after when he competed in and won the TV quiz show The $64,000 Question answering questions on the Battle of Britain. His work so impressed the host Bob Monkhouse that he bought one of Mark's originals.

Around this time,Mark was contacted by the Chairman of 30 Squadron Association RAF with a view to commissioning him to paint a 75th a
nniversary painting for the Squadron. He drove down to their base at RAF Lyneham and for the first time came into contact with the life that he had so wanted as a schoolboy. The subsequent painting was received with great acclaim within the RAF and soon commissions were rolling in from various Squadrons including a three year association with the world famous RAF Aerobatic Team The Red Arrows.

On top of this, and more importantly for Mark, the Squadrons were offering him the chance to fly with them as part of the research process. By 1995, he had built up many hours of military flying in types such as the Hercules, VC10, Gazelle, and Tucano in the UK, Germany, and Cyprus. However, his boyhood ambition of flying in a fast jet still eluded him.  Then, on a grey autumn afternoon in 1996, Mark found himself sitting in a BAe Hawk of 208 Sqn at RAF Valley in North Wales ready for take off. An hour later after a thoroughly uncomfortable but exhilarating tail chase 20,000 ft above Snowdon, his feet touched the ground once more and he realised that that boyhood ambition had been finally achieved, in the most unexpected way possible. 

In the following years, Mark has become firmly established as one of Britain's leading aviation artists in the world-wide fine art print market with many of his limited editions now only available on the secondary market. For example, Mark's Operation Irma print of a Hercules going into Sarajevo, commissioned by 47 Squadron RAF, sold out within a few months and raised over £20,000 for Children's Charities.

Although Mark is known exclusively for his aviation work, he can turn his hand to other subjects with equally impressive results. He has produced many maritime paintings for the Norwegian Coastal Artillery, including retirement gifts for the Naval Chiefs of Staff, (a more critical audience would be difficult to find!)


As for long term ambitions, Mark has simply this. "I want to live a happy and good life and professionally be the very best in anything that I do." Those who have met this remarkable young artist have no cause to doubt that he will achieve his aims.

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