Doug Hyde Artist Profile: Meet the Man Behind the Smile
Since Doug Hyde’s first collection was published in 2003, the smile he introduced us to has become iconic and the popularity of his work has continued to climb.
His characters have a childlike appeal, and his style captures a warmth and comfort that draws us into a truly joyful world.While this style has been consistent throughout Doug’s work, every new collection he releases brings something slightly different for us to explore and enjoy.
Born in Bristol in 1972, Doug Hyde created paintings for family and friends in his spare time before releasing his first collection to the public. Despite his own reservations, in 2005 - just a couple of years after releasing his first collection - Doug was named the UK’s biggest-selling artist and described by the BBC as the UK’s most popular living artist.
Doug’s work continues to be inspired by family and friends - he tells how the Masters of Disguise collection was influenced by “My son’s request for a painting of Spiderman combined with my own love of vintage concepts to take me back to the ‘70s”. And the Rural Retreat collection grew from the new life he and his family created with their move from Bristol to Gloucestershire.
This countryside living has provided Doug and his family with a very different perspective on life, yet his focus on those closest to us means the visions he shares in his works has retained the same warmth and affection we love.
As well as three children, Doug’s family now includes Nancy the Great Dane, a herd of Alpaca, chickens and eight cats. While he explains the expansion of their entourage has been - at times - unexpected, he explains “The animals are a great way to make the most of your environment as they force you to go outside whatever the weather. Checking up and locking them in last thing at night is a lovely way to finish the day.”
Having published his first work almost 20 years ago, Doug Hyde says that he still creates art for the same reason he did then “because it is my passion; because I love it.”
His style is clearly recognisable, with welcoming smiles and open arms conveying a positivity and warmth we’re all drawn to. The combination of bright colours, engaging characters and intimate moments bring to mind illustrations of childhood, which may go some way to explaining the appeal his work has across the generations.
Recognising the confidence and reassurance he has gained from his many collectors, Doug has declared his gratitude to them, saying “I feel very fortunate that you like and relate to my drawing style, technique, humour and sense of fun – we share a connection and an enjoyment in art and perhaps in life as well.” He does, however, also recognise a need to forget about those who are buying his work when he is creating, ensuring that his pieces are directed by his passion.
The comfort and care resonating through his work are provoked by the positive emotional responses Doug captures. It is no surprise that he has chosen to make use of these instinctive tender responses to support organisations which are important to him. Over the years Doug has used his artwork and creativity in a number of ways to raise money and awareness for charities such as Children in Need, the NSPCC and local organisations Families for Children, St Peter’s Hospice and Look Good, Feel Better.
As his life has changed, Doug tells us that his work also changes and evolves with new ideas constantly flowing. We see that within his collections - new characters (in Rural Retreats), and his favourite characters in new settings (Masters of Disguise, The Art Critic), as well as new media (Neon and Lenticular) - these exciting developments encourage us to wonder what will come next.
Doug Hyde has produced work which comes from the heart and reaches out to those who see it. While the familiarity of his characters and style are reassuring, the new stories and variety in his use of different media (sculpture, print, neon and more), give us new ideas to explore.
Looking ahead there will no doubt be more engaging, heartwarming stories to share and we, at the Rose Gallery, look forward to sharing them with you.