Welcome to Guy’s Gallery
Original artwork and prints from children’s illustrator Guy Parker-Rees.
Guy is the illustrator of the International Number One bestselling picture book ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’. This exhibition is a rare opportunity to buy some of Guy’s original illustrations and it is focussing on the picture book ‘All Afloat on Noah’s Boat’. It is one of his many collaborations with the poet Tony Mitton. Guy wanted to exhibit artwork from this book because ‘it feels right for our times. It’s all about surviving being cooped up indoors for a long time- and there are lots of animals in it.’
Guy deliberately chooses to focus on animal characters in his illustrations. ‘I like the universal appeal of animals- children can own them and identify with them from every cultural background. Animals have always played a big part in helping us to understand what it feels like to be human. Oh, and they’re good fun to draw!’
Guy’s illustrations have a distinctively vibrant colour palette. ‘One of my favourite quotes is William Blake’s, “Exuberance is beauty” – I aim to capture the intense joy at the wonder of being alive. I like to convey feelings in my work by getting expressions and gestures just right, using a loose line and strong colours in fluid watercolour washes. It’s so exciting when it all comes together.’
Ever since he was a small child, Guy has always loved painting and drawing. Even when studying Literature and Philosophy at York University Guy spent most of his time ‘doodling and painting’. He went on to set up ‘Art Attack’ mural painting co-operative in East London, which aimed to offer artistic opportunities to less well offcommunities. Guy worked as an arts and crafts teacher for people with learning difficulties and then trained and worked as an Art Therapist. Guy then started selling his own watercolour paintings. It was whilst doing this that Guy met someone who wrote children’s books. ‘It sounds odd but it had never occurred to me as a possibility before! Suddenly everything fell into place. I had always loved making little picture books as a child, in my literature degree I had focussed on looking at patterns of story, my Art Therapy practice was about enabling people to find their own story through images and words and now here in the children’s picture book I found the perfect, concise way of bringing stories and images together.’
Guy has teamed up again with Giles Andreae for his latest book, the wonderfully empowering ‘Elephant Me’.
Guy also writes and illustrates his own books- most recently, the popular ‘Dylan’ series, (including Dylan the Doctor) about a joyfully colourful stripey dog and his friends.