Artist Guy Harvey on How He Captures Life Under the Sea
How did Guy Harvey become one of the most famous marine wildlife artists in the world?
According to him, it took “a little bit of Jacques Cousteau, a little bit of Raphael, and a lot of time underwater.”
That hard work paid off. It’s difficult to think of another modern public figure more closely associated with oceanic life than Guy Harvey. His marine artwork is internationally acclaimed, his underwater conservation work is unparalleled, and his “wearable art” is hugely popular—people proudly wear Guy Harvey shirts all over the world.
But, for Harvey, all of his success leads back to his origins as an artist. As he puts it, everything “begins with the sketch.”
In this new Park West Gallery video, Harvey offers art lovers a glimpse at his process, taking us into his art studio and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how he so expertly captures oceanic life.
Harvey, the son of a Gunnery Officer in the British Army, was raised in Jamaica—his family can trace their English-immigrant Jamaican roots back to the 1600s.
An early encounter with Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” ignited Harvey’s passion for marine life. After spending his youth dreaming of catching his own blue marlin—which he eventually did—Harvey traveled to Scotland to study marine biology.
But his interest in underwater life wasn’t purely scientific. Harvey was also drawn to capturing scenes of aquatic life through art. A self-taught artist with remarkable aptitude, Harvey was eventually able to supplement his income during his college years by selling his artwork.
Back in Jamaica, in 1985, he held a one-man art exhibition, featuring 44 drawings inspired by “The Old Man and the Sea.” The show was a massive success. By 1988, Harvey was considered one of the world’s top saltwater game fish artists, and his reputation has only grown since.
Today, Guy Harvey’s art can be found hanging on the walls of collectors around the globe, but it can also be found on t-shirts, clothing, vacation resorts, cruise ships, posters, books, magazines, and television shows, to name just a few.
His lifestyle travel brand, his artwork, and his enduring love of “the big fish” also help fund the Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, two organizations that go to tremendous lengths to study and protect undersea life.
One part underwater explorer, one part Renaissance artist—those essential qualities have helped Guy Harvey capture the soul of the sea, creating an artistic legacy that has transformed his artwork into an international phenomenon.