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FLORIDIAN VIEW: The Water World of Guy Harvey
NOTE: This post is excerpted from an article in the June 2012 issue of Floridian View magazine.
By Jeanne Willard
Standing over six feet tall with sandy brown hair and sun-kissed skin, Guy Harvey looks every inch the avid outdoorsman while sporting one of his signature button-down fishing shirts paired with khaki’s and casual loafers. Harvey, 56, is perhaps best known for his realistic marine-life artwork that reels the observer into the ocean’s depths with an explosion of color and dynamic movement. But, you may not know that he’s also a scientist who holds a Doctorate in Fisheries Management and captains a multi-faceted business empire that supports his efforts as one of the world’s leading marine conservationists.
Harvey sat down exclusively with FV recently to talk about his art, passion for conservation, latest business ventures, and for those enthusiastic anglers – his favorite fishing spot. From apparel to dinnerware, home furnishings to gifts, sportswear to fine art and jewelry to speciality license plates, the Guy Harvey empire is all about the cause.
Born in Germany, Harvey was the son of a British Army Gunnery Officer. He honed his fishing and diving skills growing up in Jamaica, and was profoundly influenced by Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea.” At the age of 17, the classic tale so captured his imagination that he took on the task of illustrating the entire story in pen and ink. Those drawings comprised the self-taught artist’s first exhibition in Kingston, launching his decades-long career.
Today, Harvey’s works are most recognizable by the meticulously detailed and brilliantly colorful paintings of large game fish such as marlin, tuna and sailfish. He relies on his scientific knowledge and observation of marine life in its natural habitat as inspiration, and has become an accomplished diver and underwater photographer.
Harvey rarely paints from photographs, despite his skill and love of photography, preferring the “minds-eye” snapshot of marine life interactions. Many of his paintings portray large fish circling smaller fish, and sharks feeding on stingrays, among other dynamic aquatic happenings.