Philip Gray was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1959. From a very early age Philip became exposed and fell in love with art. 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.
At the age of 16, Philip left school and joined the Irish Navy becoming a naval diver. ...It was then that he began to paint at sea providing a unique perspective on Irish landscapes and seascapes as viewed from the Atlantic Ocean.
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 and as I lean over the side of a ship heading towards a new destination I still feel that the ocean is speaking to me with a thousand words and a thousand visions. I want to visit places where people seldom venture, but also where an artist has never painted. New life challenges provide the impetus for my work and are an essential element of my painting process.”
He has since become one of Ireland’s most celebrated living artists. His powerful original painting and limited editions have won him an impressive range of awards, media coverage and celebrity collectors from Bill Clinton and George W Bush to Dolly Parton.
Philip's passion for art is equalled only by his passion for exploration and discovery. Rather than sit in his studio and paint, he loves to travel to remote destinations and paint in situ, surrounded by the natural world that he portrays.
His ‘extreme art’, painted in unexpected and sometimes 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.
But wherever he goes on the planet, it is the South West coast of Ireland that he always returns to, and his peaceful depictions of the shores and harbours of home provide us with the opportunity to escape the chaos of day to day life and appreciate the wonder of the natural world as interpreted by a master of the genre.
The magic in Philip’s art lies in his ability to use his artistic creativity as a natural form of communication. With the extraordinary beauty of the mountainous western island, Ireland, as his inspiration, Philip’s art provides us with the opportunity, albeit momentarily, to remove ourselves from the chaos of day to day life and appreciate the ordered beauty of nature.