Philip Gray

Tranquil Moment II by Philip Gray
Tranquil Moment I by Philip Gray
Our Memories by Philip Gray
Our Destiny by Philip Gray
Artistic Adventures - Deluxe Book by Philip Gray
Artistic Adventures - Limited Edition Book by Philip Gray
Artistic Adventures - Open Edition Book by Philip Gray
Timeless Shores by Philip Gray
Moments Forever by Philip Gray
Entwined With Nature by Philip Gray
Memories by Philip Gray
Eternal Tides by Philip Gray
Radiant Bay III by Philip Gray
Radiant Bay II by Philip Gray
Artist, tutor, explorer. Philip Gray is a lot of things to a lot of people, and can definitely never be accused of letting the grass grow under his feet as he throws himself from one adventure into another. The critically acclaimed contemporary landscape artist is like the Sir Ranulph Fiennes of the art world, as he regularly plots his coordinates and circumnavigates much further afield than the world outside his studio window. Gray has all the attributes of an explorer in the Fiennes mould, especially when you read sound bites like this, taken from his own personal website; “My passion for art is equalled only by my passion for exploration and discovery. Not for me a tranquil day spent painting in my studio; rather I prefer to be a man of action, interacting fully with the natural world that I try to capture”. Which is fighting talk whatever your background. It’s fair to say that Gray’s journeying has taken him here, there and everywhere, yet being an ex-services man, his passport was pretty well stamped before he even began his artistic odyssey. Gray goes on to describe his travels into the unknown bringing him new challenges which he insists; “Push the boundaries of my mind, body and soul,” before adding; “With these explorations of seldom travelled places, I have found a new source of energy that I attempt to translate into visual form”.

A son of Cork in Ireland and born in 1959, Gray has painting in his blood; as well as the sea, which he stresses comes from his mother’s side, who’s family comprised of artists and sailors according to history. Although only coming to professional art late, as a secondary career after forging a life as a Naval officer before, Gray has certainly made up for any perceived lost time, and was recently voted the ‘Best Up and Coming Artist’ by the respected contemporary art industry awarding body, The Fine Art Trade Guild, whilst he boasts celebrity collectors including the likes of former US presidents, George W Bush and Bill Clinton amongst others.

Although his family uprooted from Cork to Dublin when Gray was just 6 years old, those first memories of the dramatic seascapes were obviously etched in the youngster’s mind, and set to be released and looked back on in artistic auger years later. Having said that, Gray’s initial taste of artistic genre was one of figurative, courtesy of a family friend who’d often visit in the early days. In fact one of Gray’s first memories centred around sat on the floor of Trevor Scott’s living room, a huge sheet of white paper to hand, being taught the basics of figurative work. To those not in the loop, Scott – Gray’s parent’s friend – was the founder of the prestigious School of Art and Design in Dublin; and obviously a dab hand at a few creative disciplines it goes without saying.

Despite creative inspiration being in something of an abundance during Gray’s formative years then it might surprise many to learn that on leaving secondary education he didn’t go on to attend art school himself; rather opting to follow the family tradition of becoming a sailor, and moreover signing up to join the Irish Navy. Putting pen to paper as a keen 16 year old wanting to see the world, Gray committed himself to 21 years, and eventually established himself a role as a naval diver. Yet he also kept his hand in with painting whilst taking in the sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond; which in itself afforded a massively inspired Gray peerless vistas of both Irish landscapes and coastal seascapes as he travelled back and forth in the name of duty.

Gray’s art soon became prolific, and an opportunity presented itself which would essentially change his direction and immediate goals thereafter. Helping to mark the Centennial celebrations of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour back in 1986, Gray - in his capacity of Chief Petty Officer aboard the LE Eithne naval ship – found himself in the thick of the action as it were, and with many dignitaries and movers and shakers being entertained in a reception on the ship, Gray was allowed to present a collection of his landscape compositions as a visual backdrop to the event. Much to his surprise, the general reaction to his work bowled him over, as the gathered parties were suitably impressed with what they witnessed, and this consensus of opinion got Gray thinking in the days immediately afterwards.

Biting the bullet, Gray decided that he was going to make a go of it as an artist, as painting had been such a big part of his life on and off for as long as he cared to recall, and although he still had a few years naval service before he could draw a useful pension – and therefore to the chagrin of some around him at the time – Gray called time on his nearing 21 year service career. But before he did that he created a series of compositions to approach galleries with, to determine precisely how his particular brand of art would be received in a commercial context; plus also to activate some channels which he could then use to his advantage if and when the time came.

Suffice to say Gray’s dramatic seascapes and coastal panoramas were met with universal approval by anyone and everyone who clapped eyes on them, and it wasn’t long before he was courting the contemporary art attentions of one of the biggest and most successful fine art publishers in the UK, namely DeMontford Fine Art. They jumped at the chance to both collaborate with and ultimately represent Gray, guaranteeing him the priceless mass exposure that he craved through their network of art galleries and venues throughout Britain.

Today Gray is justifiably looked upon as one of Ireland’s most famous living artists and his signature canvas captures of his visually arresting west Ireland pictorial scenes habitually prove to be best-sellers with his army of fans and legions of seasoned collectors across the world. Courtesy of his influences Gray bestows us with the opportunity, if only momentarily, to remove ourselves from the chaos of everyday life just long enough to appreciate the beauty of orderly nature through his typically powerful, evocative and truly enigmatic painted takes.



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