Born in Sussex in 1951, Humphrey Ocean went to art schools in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Canterbury. From 1971 to 1973 he was bass player with Kilburn and the Highroads and was elected a Royal Academician in 2004. In 1984 he painted a portrait of Philip Larkin for the NPG, described by Nick Hornby as 'unanswerable'. Four years later he went to Northern Brazil with the American anthropologist Stephen Nugent and their book 'Big Mouth: The Amazon Speaks' was published by Fourth Estate in 1990.
Exhibitions include 'Double-Portrait' at Tate Liverpool 1992, 'urbasuburba' with Jock McFadyen at The Whitworth Art Gallery 1997, 'The Painter's Eye' with John Tchalenko, National Portrait Gallery 1999 and 'how's my driving' at Dulwich Picture Gallery 2003. A new work in collaboration with Tchalenko was shown in 'How Do You Look' at the Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons at the end of 2006. Between 2004 and 2007 he worked with Maurice Payne on a series of etchings. In 2009 he will exhibit at Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury Christ Church University, formerly the room in the art school where life as he now knows it began.