Imagine cruising at 35,000 feet above sea level in a luxury liner. Sipping on your favourite drink, you browse through the collection of a renowned artist to choose the one painting you would like to put up on your drawing room or study wall — all this while sitting in the comfort of your seat.
The Richard Branson-owned Virgin Atlantic has made it a reality by launching a first-of-its kind in-flight commercial art gallery in its cross-continent flights between London and New York. The ‘Gallery in the Air’ started on February 1 and will continue till February 28; it is an initiative to further enhance passengers in-flight shopping and entertainment experience, taking the display and sale of fine art into uncharted territory.
Long-haul travellers wishing to experience the Gallery in the Air’s first exhibition, featuring a collection of ten works of art priced between £2,500 and £15,000 in Ben Eine’s trademark typography style, could book their seats on the Virgin Atlantic website. Each piece is inspired by the adventurous spirit of Virgin Atlantic and the iconic transatlantic cities of London and New York.
Upper Class passengers will be able to enjoy the art gallery experience at every step of their journey. The eye-catching canvases will be on display across the London Heathrow, JFK and Newark Clubhouses and, as passengers take their seats, they can take a virtual tour of the Gallery in the Air, look behind-the-scenes at the making of the Virgin Atlantic artworks by Eine in his studio and buy the unique pieces of art for themselves in exactly the same way as they would make a duty-free shopping purchase.
Eine is famous for his striking and cutting-edge street art style featuring vibrant and often controversial letters and phrases. He shot to international fame when David Cameron presented one of his works to President Barack Obama as a gift on his first official state visit in 2010, but is perhaps best known for ‘Alphabet Street’ — the shutters and murals he painted in his trademark colours and typography in Middlesex Street, London.
“My philosophy through all my work, be it on canvas or on the street, is about pushing boundaries and not simply going with the flow because everyone else is doing something a certain way. I respect Virgin Atlantic’s brave and challenging attitude and the way it goes against the grain, so I jumped at the chance to be part of the first ever Gallery in the Air. We have created a completely original way of appreciating and buying art — a new frontier for the industry,” Ben Eine said.
Mr. Branson said: “Our new Gallery in the Air is the first ever commercial art gallery in the sky… I am a huge fan of Ben’s work…he does things differently and doesn’t follow the crowd. We’re delighted to be working with him, mixing things up a bit and having a bit of fun along the way.”
The Gallery in the Air with Ben Eine is set to be the first in a series of unique on-board collaborations with renowned artists. Following a £100 million investment in early 2012, the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class cabin has received a number of significant enhancements in recent months.
And now an in-flight commercial art gallery in flights between London and New York