By Jack Webster
The beginnings of David Johnson’s successful career in motorsport art began with a letter he sent to Sir Stirling Moss around Christmas of 2008. David had an idea for doing a painting of Stirling’s Monaco Grand Prix victory in 1956. Would Sir Stirling be interested is perhaps signing a few prints?
As is often the case, a simple request and letter, opened the world for motorsport to a new and unknown artist. Not only did Stirling Moss respond to David’s letter, he was enormously enthusiastic. About a month later when the painting was finished, Stirling invited David to his home, in what would become the first of many visits.
You might say that Stirling Moss became a mentor to David Johnson, for if he had not been so kind and encouraging in his response to David’s initial letter, who knows what path David Johnson might have taken?
As David himself says: “I owe a lot to Stirling Moss. Sir Stirling was the first F1 driver I worked with and throughout our meetings, he always encouraged me to do more.”
David Johnson’s outstanding portfolio of artwork ranges from Formula One in the 1950’s, to the present day. He has become the favorite of a number of current Grand Prix drivers, including Lando Norris of McLaren and George Russell of Mercedes AMG Petronas. David’s incredible palette knife paintings, which are incredibly detailed and invoke the passion, color and excitement of motorsport, must be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Lando Norris exclaimed, “Incredible! The details, the color, the image it creates is amazing. My favorite paintings by far for hanging on my wall.”
David’s work has been exhibited at the British Grand Prix, Moto GP events, Grand Prix Ball, the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the Royal Automobile Club among others. His paintings and prints are in the personal collections of a virtual “who’s who” of racing legends, including World Champions Sir Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti. As Mario says: “David’s work is always spectacular.”
David did a show at the Silverstone Museum last October which ran for 6 months. It featured 65 of his works and David himself was on hand to do live paintings. The exhibit supported Jackie Stewart’s ‘Race Against Dementia’ charity. Stewart said, “David is a very talented and unique artist. I much enjoyed viewing his work and we are grateful for his support of ‘Race Against Dementia’ through his creations.”
Keep an eye on this outstanding talent. His portfolio is expanding beyond Formula One to include classic sports car racing scenes as well, including Mario Andretti signing his beautiful new Sebring 1970 Ferrari piece. Be sure to check out David’s website to explore his entire body of work. Perhaps we can get him to make the trip across the pond and come to a race or two in the US next year! His website: formulaart.co.uk