“We are taking the essence of a real, three-dimensional car in the real world and turning it into a two-dimensional print.”

So says British artist Alan Thornton, who has teamed up with Aston Martin to produce limited-edition large-format prints of both the DB5 and the Valkyrie. 

Using print-making methods pioneered by Andy Warhol and other Pop artists of the 1950s and 1960s, he has developed a printing process that distils the quality and beauty of these emblematic cars into wall-mounted artworks. 

Thornton is working on conjunction with Amalgam, a Bristol-based company that creates scale models of luxury cars. Sandy Copeman, the company founder, says: “Alan’s artistic comprehension of the car designer’s intentions, combined with his extreme technical virtuosity and a passion for the automotive subjects, results in very special artworks of great intensity and beauty.”

Based in Spitalfields, in east London, Thornton uses photography, digital manipulation and silk-screen printing to transform these beautiful cars into fine artworks.

The first stage of the process is when he brings an Aston Martin car into a professional studio to photograph it, after precisely composing and lighting his subject. Then he digitally manipulates his images, breaking them down into complex dot patterns, varying in size, pattern and spacing. Next, he uses silk-screen printing to apply different-coloured inks. As these inks are all hand-mixed, each subsequent print is slightly different to the last. For many of the works, the final stage is to apply metallic ink or real metal leaf.

Thornton’s journey to screen-printing began early in life, after he took a keen interest in industrial design and function, and “the relationships we all have with inanimate objects”.

“I always start with a bit of research on the car,” he explains, having used his skills to portray many different vehicle brands in his time. “So far I haven’t shot anything that I’m not familiar with in some way. But every time I come to a new car, there’s things I see that I don’t expect.”

He was particularly impressed when creating his large-format prints of the Valkyrie. “The Valkyrie is an absolute work of art. It’s just astonishing,” he says of Aston Martin’s high-performance sports car. “It’s one of the most amazing cars I’ve ever seen, to be honest.

“Its only when photographing these cars, really dialling into it, that I see how the light plays on them; seeing the proportions, seeing how they’re made, seeing the materials – there’s just so much going on.”

Alan Thornton’s artworks can be purchased through Amalgam’s website, amalgamcollection.com. He is also available for Aston Martin owners who want to commission original artworks of their own vehicles.