THE work of a former naval diver and Kinsale-based artist who is training to stay underwater for his deepest painting expedition yet was showcased at Ireland’s premier art fair Art Source.
Philip Gray, who has painted at depths of 45m and at Mount Everest heights, exhibited at the year’s biggest art show, at the RDS.
The explorer has already produced art under Antarctic icebergs, in Mexican caves and in shark infested waters in the Bahamas.
He is currently training to dive deeper for longer for a forthcoming expedition to paint at the site of the submerged city of Shicheng in China, alongside an eight-man team.
Philip recently shared a stage with singer Daniel O’Donnell, chef Kevin Dundon and filmmaker Jim Sheridan when they were honoured for their outstanding contributions to Irish books, arts and music at the iBAM (Irish Books, Arts and Music) in Chicago.
Philip has also explored the rain forests of Borneo, climbed Mount Everest and trekked across the Sahara’s searing heat in a constant bid to evolve his work
‘I use oils on canvas and mostly sponges to paint underwater. I try and paint in extreme environments and use the elements to inspire the mind, body and soul,’ he said. ‘When I was painting in shark infested waters, to be honest, I was more concerned with a shark knocking over my easel than my own safety.’
Philip was born in Cork and lived here until he turned six when his parents, Albert and Wendy, decided to move to Dublin for a few years. ‘Without doubt my passion for the sea can be traced back to my childhood in Cork,’ he said.