Cayman Islands Feature

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Not Just a Guy Thing

Guy Harvey is a man of many hats. He has a PhD in marine biology and is also a world-class angler, renowned aquatic wildlife artist, cinematographer, TV producer, presenter of a weekly TV program titled Portraits from the Deep, clothing designer, and dedicated environmentalist.

Anyone passing through the Fort Lauderdale airport has seen his dramatic three-story mural (a smaller mural adorns Grand Cayman's Owen Roberts Airport). His art features meticulous composition and vibrant color, capturing the adrenaline-pumping action. "I try to humanize them, give them character in my paintings," Harvey says, though hardly in dewy, Disney-esque fashion.

Growing up a 10th-generation Jamaican, he loved fishing and diving with his father from an early age. Obsessed by all things aquatic, Harvey first gained notice in art circles with a 1985 Kingston exhibit of pen-and-ink drawings based on Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea, a recurring theme: man and animal bonding and exhibiting grace under pressure in their struggle for survival.

He moved to Cayman during Jamaica's political upheaval in the late 1970s. He liked Cayman's similar culture and cuisine, British heritage, and proximity to both Jamaica and Florida. Harvey has used his high profile synergistically as an artist, angler, author, and documentarian to strike merchandising deals, creating apparel and houseware lines and restaurants, pouring many of the profits back into research. He still travels the world on interactive marine programs such as following tagged sharks from Belize to Brazil. These expeditions serve a dual purpose: "…saving the environment while inspiring me artistically."

Harvey has consistently supported "catch and release" ethics for game fish around the world. He works closely with many conservation organizations to help protect global fishery resources and was appointed a trustee of the International Game Fish Association in 1992; six years later he was voted the IGFA's first-ever "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the World Fishing Awards Committee. The nonprofit Guy Harvey Research Institute was established with the Oceanographic Center of Nova Southeastern University in 1999 to support effective conservation and restoration of fish resources and biodiversity. His views can be controversial. Commenting on dolphin swim programs, he has said: "Dolphin safety is one of the biggest lies foisted on the public."

Updated: 12-2013

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