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World's first aeroplane art gallery set for take-off

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Anna Pollitt
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Just when you thought First Class had it all, Virgin installs an art gallery on one of its aircrafts.

The airline is offering its Upper Class passengers the chance to purchase duty-free slightly pricier than its usual fare with the launch of the first ever airborne art gallery next month.

For the whole of February customers can view and buy one-off paintings by British Graffiti artist Ben Eine as they fly at 35,000 feet.

Eine's work, entitled MANANDHISMACHINES, is displayed on the aircraft, above

Eine's colourful typographic art can be seen in major cities across the world, including east London's famous "Alphabet Street," where Eine artistically spray-painted the letters A to Z across shop shutters .

David Cameron even gave Barack Obama one of the artist's creations as a gift in 2010, a move that shot Eine to international fame and arguably gave his street cred a slight battering.

Now, in a collaboration with prolific entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, Eine will showcase 10 bespoke works priced between £2,500 and £15,000 on Virgin's Gallery in the Air.

Eine said: “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.

So, that's what First Class looks like, above

"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.”

Such is Eine's admiration of Branson, he even drew a not-for-sale portrait of the Virgin founder to hang in the London Heathrow Clubhouse.

Branson said: “We like to do things differently at Virgin Atlantic and are always finding new ways to surprise and entertain our customers. Our new Gallery in the Air is the first ever commercial art gallery in the sky and is a good example of this.

“I am a huge fan of Ben’s work and, like us, 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.”

Virgin's in-flight Eine exhibition is set to be the first in a series of collaborations with high-profile artists.

Visionary or sell-out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or @StylistMagazine

Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features, Virgin

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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