George Underwood's Biography

George Underwood

George Underwood was born in 1947. George joined Beckenham Art School in 1963.

At art school George Underwood became more and more interested in music. As a result he pursued a career in the music world. Along with life long friend David Bowie he made one record (The King Bees ) and also a solo record under the name Calvin James.

After deciding that the music business was not for him, George returned to art studies and then worked in design studios as an illustrator. Initially he specialised in fantasy, horror and science fiction book covers.

Many of George Underwood's colleagues in the music business asked him to do various art works for them. This led to George becoming a freelance artist. Art work for the first T Rex album and later David Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust album covers established him as a leading and creative art illustrator.                                

Over this period George produced literally hundreds of book covers, LP and CD covers, advertisements, portraits and drawings.

At the start of the 1970’s George Underwood started painting in oils. His paintings  were influenced at first by the Viennese School of Fantastic Realism –artists which included  Ernst Fuchs, Rudolph Hausner and Eric Brauer. George regarded them as contemporary visionaries like Bruegel and Bosch. He was fascinated by their imaginative visions.

Imagination is the key word in George's paintings. He rarely uses live models nowadays, prefering to invent people who inhabit their own personal world.

George Underwood paintings are held in many private art collections. One of his art collectors, David Bowie, says: ‘George has, over the years, refined his work to the point where I would put him among the top figurative painters coming out of the UK right now. There’s a sublime isolation surrounding his subjects that really touches the viewer, the figures being both heroic and vulnerable simultaneously. There’s a timeless element in the choice of subject matter that overlaps with the mythical world of Odd Nerdrum, say. Now that a huge shift to painting is taking place, I would expect to see George’s name pushed further and further to the front’.


George Underwood's Timeline

1947 Born in Bromley Kent

1963 Beckenham Art School

1964/5 Ravensbourne College of Art (Wharton Road)

1966 Worked for Pye Records designing LP Covers

1967 Worked for New English Library as designer & illustrator.

1968 Freelance Illustrator

1971 Formed 'Main Artery' Studio in Covent Garden

1972 Toured USA with David Bowie - 'Ziggy Stardust'

1973 Main Artery finished - Continued as freelance Illustrator/Painter

1975 Exhibition at Denholm Elliot Gallery, Ibiza, Spain

1977 Exhibition at Mirandy Gallery, London

1978 Exhibition at Bella Centre & Town Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark

1979 Exhibition at JCA, Tokyo, Japan

1980 - 1989 Various freelance work-Record Sleeves / Book Covers / Advertising

1990 Greenpeace Exhibition at Fouts & Fowler Gallery, London

1992 Exhibition at Cromwell Ward Gallery, Soho, London

1993 Exhibition at Figure of Eight Gallery, London

1994 Exhibition at Andrew Usiskin Gallery, Hampstead, London

1995 Exhibition at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London

1996 Exhibition at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London

1997 One Man Show titled: 'About Face' at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London

1998 Two Paintings in RA Summer Exhibition
1998 Exhibition at KDK Gallery, Portobello Road, London

1999 Exhibition at Artbank Gallery, London

2000 Exhibition ar Artbank Gallery, London

2001 Three Paintings in RA Summer Exhibition

2002 One Painting in NEAC Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London

2002 Mixed Exhibition at The Portal Gallery, London

2003 One Man Show at The Portal Gallery, London

2004 Various Mixed Exhibitions at The Portal Gallery, London

2006 Two Paintings 'Moondog' and 'Birgit Marie' in RA Summer Exhibition

2005 One Man Show at The Portal Gallery, London

2006 One Man Show at The Bank Gallery, Brighton
2006 Mixed Show at The Troubadour Gallery, Manchester

2007 Exhibition at The Portal Gallery, London
2007 Mixed Show at The Red Rag Gallery, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire

2008 Mixed Show at The Red Rag Gallery, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire
2008 Mixed Show at The Portal Gallery, London         
2008 One Painting 'I Believe in You' in RA Summer Exhibition

2009 One Painting 'Silent Reflection' in RA Summer Exhibition

2010 RBA Annual Exhibition Mall Galleries London
2010 One man show at Tage Andersen's Gallery 'Gunillaberg' Sweden
2010 Discerning Eye Exhibition Mall Galleries London

2011 Historicism show at Medici Gallery London
2011 Summer show at Medici Gallery London

2012 Historicism show at Medici Gallery London
2012 Show at The Chalk Farm Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico. USA.
2012  Show at Art Wanson Gallery, Marbella, Spain.

2013  One Painting 'Let's Face It' in RA Summer Exhibition