Artist Alan Walsh has said it is a “dream come true” to have his motorsport-inspired artwork in the collections of Formula 1 drivers including Sir Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard and George Russell.

The Yorkshire-born illustrator, who raced in the same karting team as Sir Lewis Hamilton as a boy, has been building his client list over the years with his colourful style.

He recently unveiled a new collection of paintings, entitled Extraordinary Automotive, in a museum near the Monaco Grand Prix track which homes the car collection of the Prince of Monaco.

The famous Monaco track is particularly special for Somerset’s Jenson Button, who stormed to victory on those golden streets in his 2009 World Championship year.

Walsh told the PA news agency: “It’s a dream come true as a kid who loved racing.

“While I can’t ever race in the Monaco Grand Prix, me doing an exhibition where I’m (doing) it, is just as good. It really is.

“It’s something that I’ve worked really, really hard for many years and I’ve made lots of sacrifices.

“I had to sleep on the floor in my first gallery to get my work framed, and that was just when I met my wife, so it’s not like I’ve particularly been given anything.

“I’ve really had to graft for stuff and I have no problem with that, I think that’s when you appreciate stuff more, when you’ve earned it yourself.”

Walsh took inspiration from his parents as he spent his childhood travelling around racing circuits for his father’s job as a racing car builder, while his mother worked at an embroidery company, which developed his love of illustration.

As a child, he raced in the British Junior Karting Championship in 1997 and 1998 for the the Zip Young Guns, the same team as a young Sir Lewis, but found his strength lay in the world of art.

After spending a few years working as an illustrator in an advertising agency in Leeds and later Sydney, he combined his childhood passions of fashion and F1 to create a series of French Riviera-themed artworks that he showed in a small exhibition.

He began developing his connections to the motorsport world after he created branding for Blue Coast beer, a brewing company owned by F1 stars Coulthard, Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button.

His work kept taking him to the Monaco Grand Prix and Walsh became hooked on the Cote D’Azur, finally moving his gallery to the principality in 2020.

With his latest collection, Walsh said he wanted to “combine the Riviera with a bit of a playfulness to racing”.

Among the designs are silhouettes of racing cars, bikes and women, as he said he wanted to show that “women enjoy cars as well”.

Reflecting on his clientele, Walsh said Sir Jackie, who won three World Drivers’ Championships during his time, has been a great support.

He recalled that after he donated a painting to Sir Jackie’s charity Race Against Dementia, the driver personally commissioned him to create one for his home and now he is Walsh’s biggest collector.

“His art collection is absolutely incredible… so to be part of that collection is is fantastic,” the artist said.

“But to actually be invited (to his home) – we have dinner with him and his wife – for me, that’s probably better than having dinner with King Charles.

“We just speak about racing. He absolutely loves his art, he talks about all sorts of different stories.”

Through recommendations from Sir Jackie and Coulthard, Walsh’s work is now owned by a host of F1 stars including Mercedes F1 driver Russell, Australia ex-driver Mark Webber, Mercedes Team principal Toto Wolff and Formula One car designer Adrian Newey as well as the Prince of Monaco.

Walsh said: “If you’d have said that years ago to that little boy who was sketching Monaco Grand Prix cars when he was 12 years old because his science teacher told him he wouldn’t do anything with his life, I probably would have been like, ‘Yeah, whatever’.

“But at the same time, I’ve always had a bit of determination that goes, ‘I’ll prove you wrong, my art will succeed’.

“But it is a dream come true.”

The Extraordinary Automotive collection will be shown at Walsh Gallery Monaco between April 25 and May 31, including Monaco Grand Prix weekend.