Dr. Guy Harvey is a self-made artist, an accomplished marine scientist who is heavily involved in conservation efforts, as well as a successful business owner. His brand has become widely recognized throughout the country, and indeed in far-flung destinations around the world. Now, in a partnership with Gainesville Coins, Guy Harvey’s original artwork will appear on silver bullion and silver collectibles for the first time. We sat down with the man–or, more aptly, the Guy–himself to learn a bit more about ocean life and the artist behind the brand.
Not enough people are aware of your comprehensive education in marine biology. You received your B.A. from Aberdeen University in Marine Biology and your Ph.D. from the University of the West Indies in Fisheries Management. With your extensive background in marine science, and the realism of your art, do you ever think of your art portfolio as a sort of scientific catalog of aquatic animal life?
I have never quite heard it phrased like that but all of my paintings do come from first-hand experiences and interactions that I have had on and under the water, so in that sense I am documenting images that have actually occurred in nature. When I was working on the thesis for my Ph.D. I did all of the sketches and drawings myself and did all of the images for the “Fishes of the Open Ocean’ textbook so there is definitely scientific merit to most of my artwork.
How would you describe your artistic style? Do you think you fit into any specific group or genre? Why did you choose this style? Is there a specific artist or genre that inspired your artwork? Does your favorite painting (or paintings) among your own work demonstrate this style, or do you believe it stands apart stylistically?
I would not say that my artwork falls into a specific style or genre, I just try to paint animals and scenes as authentic and biologically accurate as possible. This also stems from my scientific background. While I have been influenced by a number of other artists, my good friend a sculptor Kent Ullberg has taught me a lot about how to translate what I see into a work of art.
You frequently choose marlin and dorado as subject matter for your paintings. Are one of these two fish your favorite? Do you even have a favorite fish? Why are these your favorite?
My favorite fish is the blue marlin. Its speed and power is almost unmatched in the ocean and the fight that they provide an angler is spectacular. I was also enthralled by Hemmingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” when I was younger so the blue marlin always captivated me.