Winner: Fine Art Trade Guild Best New Artist 2007
Philip Gray's passion for art is equalled only by his passion for exploration and discovery. Not for him a tranquil day spent painting in his studio; rather he is a man of action, interacting fully with the natural world that he portrays. His 'extreme art', painted in unexpected, often dangerous locations, has won him a unique reputation as an artist and adventurer; Everest base Camp, 60 feet beneath the surface of shark infested waters, the rainforest of Borneo, deep in the caves and atop the volcanoes of Iceland, …his expeditions are legendary, and his innovative artwork has won him a unique position in the international art world.
Philip says: “I have a great love of the sea, born out of experiencing the joy and freedom of the ocean wave, above and below the surface. I spent 17 years as an Irish navy diver. I still feel that as I lean over the side of a ship heading towards a new destination and distant horizon that the ocean is speaking to me with a thousand words and a thousand visions.”
Philip was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1959. From the age of five he loved art, and one of his earliest memories is being tutored in figurative drawing by a family friend, Trevor Scott, the founder of the renowned College of Art and Design in Dublin. He believes this to be the first step towards his need to explore his creativity.
At the age of 16, Philip left school and joined the Irish Navy. Once established as a naval diver, he began to paint at sea and soon became prolific. He had the great advantage of having a unique perspective on Irish landscapes and seascapes as viewed from the Atlantic Ocean.
After 17 years in the Navy, and with much encouragement from his wife and family, Philip relinquished his naval career and took the bold step of setting up on his own as an artist. His success was such that he has since become one of Ireland’s most celebrated living artists. His powerful Original Paintings, Pastels and Collectable Editions have won him an impressive range of awards, media coverage and celebrity collectors from Bill Clinton and George W Bush to Dolly Parton.