Humphrey Ocean RA

Humphrey Ocean studied at Canterbury Art School from 1970 to 1973. During that time, he played bass with Kilburn and the Highroads and the band supported The Who on their 1973 Christmas Tour. He had his first major solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1984 and has since shown at Tate Liverpool and Whitechapel Gallery, London. In 2002 a residency at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London culminated in his exhibition how’s my driving and more recently he has had shows at Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, 2009 and Jesus College, Cambridge, 2011. A handbook of modern life, a series of new portraits, were at the National Portrait Gallery 2012-13, accompanied by a new publication.

Other projects include Big Mouth: The Amazon Speaks, his book with the American anthropologist Stephen Nugent about their visit to Northern Brazil, published by Fourth Estate in 1990 and a 2009 appearance in Alan Kane’s Life Class: Today’s Nude on Channel 4 television (a project with Artangel). Since 1990 he has worked with filmmaker John Tchalenko on a continuing experiment with drawing, starting with Double-Portrait.

In 2012 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University and was appointed Royal Academy Professor of Perspective.

He lives and works in London.


Royal Academician


Elected RA: 26 May 2004

Born: 22 June 1951

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