Artist Guy Harvey bring deep-sea depictions to Bluffton

August 5, 2011 

Guy Harvey is best known for the hundreds of fish he's painted and the millions of T-shirts sold depicting those deep-sea scenes in precise detail.

His latest painting is of male Nassau groupers chasing a female, the black-and-white male fish standing out against the dark water. But this won't be on a T-shirt.

He plans on turning it into an educational poster for children in the Caribbean about the spawning process. It plays along with his advocacy to protect Nassau grouper mating sites.

"It won't be a great commercial benefit," he said, "but it will be a great educational resource."

The "Guy Harvey" name is more than just a name. It's a brand synonymous with marine artistry. But Harvey's life is more than just T-shirts and colorful fish. Underwater life inspired Harvey to become an artist, and in turn, his work has helped the animals he's captured on canvas.

Harvey will be in Bluffton on Sunday at the opening of the Palmetto Moon store in Tanger Outlet Center 1.

Harvey's love of marine life started as a boy growing up in Jamaica. The 10th generation Jamaican from English heritage spent his youth diving and fishing with his father off the island's south coast. His schooling was in marine biology, and he graduated with a doctorate in fisheries management from the University of West Indies.

He had been painting and sketching since he was a boy, and his two interests merged in his first successful artistic venture in 1985. "Santiago's Finest Hour" was a series of 44 pen and ink drawings that told the story of Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea." An exhibition of the work in Jamaica was such a success that it inspired him to take on art as a career. Soon after, he was painting game fish and putting the images on T-shirts. He traveled the world, scuba diving and photographing the fish he'd later paint. He credits his travels and education in marine life to the highly detailed depictions that have made his artwork wildly popular. He now mainly paints from memory in his studio in the Cayman Islands.

"I've spent hours and hours with (the fish)," he said.

As his success as an artist grew, he decided to give back. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and The Guy Harvey Research Institute at NOVA Southeastern University were established to help further research into protecting marine ecosystems.

His "Save Our Gulf" T-shirt campaign through the foundation raised about $500,000 following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year. The money went to research the impact the spill had on the native fish.

For Harvey, science and artistry have combined to form something more than just popular paintings. Looking back, he can't imagine any other result than what's happened.

"Nobody anticipates a smooth journey -- certainly mine wasn't," he said. "But I've been very fortunate and worked with a lot of great people."

A REGULAR GUY

Guy Harvey will be at Palmetto Moon from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday in Tanger Outlet Center 1 in Bluffton. The store's grand opening celebration includes giveaways, on-air radio contests, promotions and raffles. Harvey will be on hand to sign autographs.

Palmetto Moon generated $15,000 in proceeds from sales of its Guy Harvey T-shirts to benefit the Coastal Conservation Association of South Carolina and Sea Turtle Rescue Program at the South Carolina Aquarium.

Details: www.palmettomoononline.com

Related content:

Palmetto Moon

Guy Harvey

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