About the artist
Following a former lifetime in the corporate world where he channelled his creative energy into innovative business projects, a mid-life crisis in 1995 led Barry to a sculpture course at Bath College in the UK. After sculpting only his second works, he was commissioned to create an edition of 12 bronzes commemorating the benefit year of English Rugby star Victor Ubogu.
Just 18 months later, Novis shifted his attention to the easel, developing the style which would eventually lead him to the auction houses of London and deliver his art to collectors such as Coldplay, Joanna Lumley, Phil Collins’ Hit & Run Music, HMV Music and the National Trust, and also see his art sell in the secondary market at Christie’s and Bonhams.
Barry Novis hit his stride in the art world with bold in-your-face portraits of music and sporting legends. His first-ever rock legends painting, George Harrison, fetched a significant sum at a music industry auction in London. One of his John Lennon portraits sold at auction to the band Coldplay. Later, the National Trust commissioned Novis to paint David Beckham as a modern-day god for “The Pantheon” at their heritage estate Stourhead in Wiltshire. Jimena Page commissioned Novis to paint her then-husband, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, to raise funds for their charity supporting Brazil’s street children. A UK business tycoon commissioned a series of 12 British-inspired Novis paintings for his London restaurant.
Born in Brighton, England, in February 1944, Barry Novis grew up in less-than-comfortable circumstances with which he now credits his determination and identification with the subjects of his “legends” portraits, many of whom succeeded brilliantly despite economically deprived childhoods. Living in ‘swinging’ London during the 1960s and ‘70s, the heyday of modern pop culture, imprinted upon Novis a passion for music, sport and art - for colour, vibrancy and individualistic expression. From the start, Novis paintings were always larger-than-life, featuring bold strokes or multiple dots in acrylic or oil on canvas. These days, he includes abstract in his repertoire with a salute to masters such as Pollock and Richter, as well as his own unique subliminal style inspired by dreams and meditations.
Barry Novis now lives in Australia. Several years ago he left Sydney and began travelling the country to explore his adopted land. During that time, whilst on the road, he painted spasmodically, an experience he recalls with wry amusement and huge gratitude to the generous strangers who, with scant hesitation, loaned him their sheds, spare rooms, club houses and studios.
The nomadic life behind him, Novis has now settled near Noosa on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Settling has afforded him the time, space and opportunity to paint again, reworking previously explored concepts and investigating new themes and techniques. And he is making his legendary art available again by releasing prints of his most popular works, internationally, through the online Novis Gallery.
One of Novis’s favourite quotes is borrowed from John Lennon, whom he has painted many times: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” It’s a notion to which he relates in no small measure.