Humphrey Ocean

Biography

Humphrey Ocean was born in Sussex in 1951 and went to art schools in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Canterbury. From 1971 to 1973 he was bass player with Kilburn and the Highroads and was elected a Royal Academician in 2004. In 1984 he painted a portrait of Philip Larkin for the NPG, described by Nick Hornby as 'unanswerable'. Four years later he went to Northern Brazil with the American anthropologist Stephen Nugent and their book 'Big Mouth: The Amazon Speaks' was published by Fourth Estate in 1990. His work is in the British Council Collection, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, National Maritime Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2009 he appeared in Life Class: Today's Nude on Channel 4 television, directed by Alan Kane, a project with Artangel. Exhibitions include 'Double-Portrait' at Tate Liverpool in 1992, 'urbasuburba' at The Whitworth Art Gallery in 1997, 'The Painter's Eye' at the National Portrait Gallery in 1999, 'how's my driving' at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2003, 'Humphrey Ocean Perfectly Ordinary' at Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury Christ Church University in 2009 and 'Here and There' at Jesus College, Cambridge in 2011. 'Now and Then' accompanied his Honorary Doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University in 2012. A series of new portraits, 'A handbook of modern life', was on show at the National Portrait Gallery from November 2012 to September 2013. 'Lord Volvo and his Estate', 1982, by Humphrey Ocean appeared on billboards across Britain as part of Art Everywhere in August 2013. In 2014 he completed a new commission, a portrait of Randy Lerner for the National Portrait Gallery. He lives and works in London.

Humphrey Ocean