Exactly 84 years to the day after the world’s first ever cave dive, extreme artist Philip Gray will paint underwater at the top Somerset attraction
A world first is taking place at Wookey Hole Caves on July 14, where renowned exploration artist Philip Gray will paint for the first ever time in a cave, over 19 feet underwater. Philip’s painting will illustrate the scene 84 years ago, when Penelope Powell and Graham Balcombe first plunged into the dark waters at Wookey Hole to complete the world’s first cave dive.
For the challenge, Philip will need to dive down with his paints, canvas, easel and breathing apparatus, to reach his location. He’ll then stay there until his painting is complete
The masterpiece will go on display in the Cave Diving Museum at Wookey Hole, where it will join a new display about the world’s first cave dive in 1935. Other items in the collection include early examples of deep-sea diving equipment used to explore the caves in 1935, such as diving helmets, boots and pumps.
Philip comments: “My passion for art is equalled only by my passion for exploration and discovery, and I always push myself to the limit of what is possible to create my artwork. It made perfect sense to me to paint this iconic scene from 84 years ago, deep underwater, in the atmospheric caves at Wookey Hole where the first ever cave dive took place.”
Philip has travelled the world creating stunning one-of-a-kind paintings of places never seen before. His previous projects have included painting the “lost” Lion City in China (Shi Cheng), painting in Antarctica on the side of an iceberg and even climbing Mount Everest to paint.
Philip’s previous paintings within caverns have been within the reaches of natural light, but this time his Wookey Hole cave painting attempt will need to be illuminated with artificial light. It will be the first time anyone has achieved a painting in such conditions.
About Wookey Hole
Wookey Hole Caves is the oldest attraction in Somerset, and welcomes 250,000 visitors each year. Brought by Circus great Gerry Cottle and family, the attraction also runs a circus school for young people. Find out more atwww.wookey.co.uk
About Philip Gray
Born in Cork, Ireland, Philip was drawn to art very early on in life, his family being acquainted with Trevor Scott, founder of the renowned College of Art and Design in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
In the Navy, he became established as a naval diver, and while at sea he began to paint.
As Chief Petty Officer, he sailed on the inaugural voyage of LE Eithne Naval ship to the 1986 Statue of Liberty Centennial celebrations in New York. This trip marked a significant turning pointing in his career as he was given the opportunity to exhibit a selection of originals on the ship at an official reception on its arrival into New York. Philip now works exclusively with DeMontfort Fine Art who distribute his work through Whitewall Galleries, Clarendon Fine Art, The Lemongrove Gallery and Artique Galleries.
See more at https://philipgray.com/the-artist