A quick biography

I was born in 1947 in Leicester, England. At the age of two we moved to Poland (my father Piotr Guzy is Polish, also see here) and escaped back to England in 1956, just after the uprising in Hungary and the Poznan riots.

When we first arrived we stayed with my father's family in Tarnowskie Gory then moved to Poznan. The third floor flat we moved into was in the remaining shell of a block of pre-war flats whose insides had been ripped out by a bomb. The owner was rebuilding them himself and selling them apartment by apartment as they got finished enough for people to move in. For at least three years the door on the right of our landing opened into the chasm of the empty shell next door. There was not a building in Poznan that did not have bullet holes in it.

photo of poznan riots 1956

Crowds demonstrating in Poznan in 1956 - the Poznan riots

The Poznan riots started after a worker's demonstration to protest against low wages, unfair taxation and chronic food shortages was fired upon by the police. After two days of rioting and of police shooting into the crowd the government sent in the army. I saw from the window of our flat on Rokossowski street (as then was) a two hour procession of tanks, field guns, and lorries full of troops on their way through the city to surround it.) Since then I've also lived in France, Spain, Germany and now Northern Ireland.

My art training was quite limited. I studied drawing at the Architects school of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1964. This consisted exclusively of drawing with charcoal from old plaster casts of ancient Greek, Egyptian and Mesopotamian sculptures.

entrance to the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts Paris

Entrance to the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts Paris much as I knew it

This is a very traditional and difficult academic exercise in learning to see and represent the three dimensional aspects of things. The reason it's difficult is to do with the way in which dust settles on plaster casts: it makes all the highlights dark and the shadows bright, a bit like a photographic negative. The old academicians knew what they were doing when they asked their students to draw such things. We do not paint what we see. We paint what we know is there. Finding out what is there and how to depict it can be difficult.

When 19 I Hitch hiked around the mediterranean, passed through the Sahara desert, visited Cairo and the Pyramids, took the ferry from Alexandria to Beirut, then returned through Syria, Turkey and Yugoslavia. Wonderful.

I then did a pre-dip at St Martins School of Art, London in 1967. I enjoyed it tremendously. One of the students there was a truly deep thinker of exceptional intelligence and a great interest in the representation of space. The shame is I can't remember his name with any certainty. This influenced my work ever since.

For a while I did various things whilst trying to paint such as working in factories, warehouses, and my best job ever: two years as bus conductor with the Thames Valley Traction Company in Reading. This was a great job whilst they had the open back double decker busses but was spoilt for me once the company changed over to the front loaders where because of my height I could not stand up straight except by snaking my head and shoulders up the stair well!

picture of me selling my paintings on Bayswater road, London

Me selling my paintings on the Bayswater Road (I would love it if the photographer contacted me)

For about a year or two I sold paintings on the Bayswater road, London. We, that is, myself, my wife and our two children, moved to Spain, then Germany and finally returned to England about 1974.

By chance I happened to get onto a 10 week government TOPS programme in computing at Leicester Polytechnic now De Montfort University and discovered a new talent. I was a whizz at programming. I moved from TOPS to HND, transferring to the BSc in my second year and even becoming project leader building the UK payroll for Costain, a major multinational construction company during my sandwich year out.

I had great fun. I built a robot for my final year project and after graduating, went to work for Marconi Radar on real time graphics for Flight and Ship's bridge simulators and after a year or so, managed to get into research back at the polytechnic doing Automatic Speech Recognition. It was brilliant. We got lots of money from the government and were at the forefront of Human Computer Interface (HCI)Research in the UK and I was having ideas and exploring new worlds in Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Based Systems, Gesture Based Interaction and Computer Networks to name just a few. In 1984 our Prof got a whole load more money from the government and the whole research team moved to Loughborough University where I completed my Ph.D in 1988.

poster for exhibition by Steven Scrivener and Julius Guzy at Loseby Gallery, Leicester

Poster for my exhibition at the Loseby Gallery with Steven Scrivener

About that time I had an exhibition of drawings at the Loseby Galleries in Leicester, 1990.

I came over to Ireland as Research Fellow at Magee College at the University of Ulster, working on an EU project on Networked Tourist Information Kiosks for Bord Failte, and in 1992 became Lecturer. Four years later I was out of there and back painting except for a year as Senior Research Fellow at Southbank University, London.

Martin McDonald got me to do robot lighting at the Rialto for 3 of Tony O'Donnel's Pantomimes: Santa Claus, Alladin, another I can't remember, and the musical Ebeneezer.

One of the great things about doing the robot lighting was that once I had finished setting up I would put on some loud reggae and dance with the lights. This has influenced development of some electronic painting software I'm working on currently.

The software is to provide a kind of Electronic Paint. In 2003 gave an exhibition at the Context gallery of two electronic paintings made to give people an idea of what a picture painted with Animated paint might look like.

poster for exhibition by Julius Guzy at Context Gallery, Derry

Poster for my exhibition at the Context Gallery 2003

Just recently I've got to act in a number of plays at the Playhouse, Derry. The first in 2001 was Jews Without Money written and directed by Yabo Yablonsky (also see this). I had two roles. In the first I played Mr. Rappaport, a teacher driven mad by the slum kids he teaches, and in act 2, I played a slum landlord Freddy Ravich tormented by his memories of Nazi Germany.

The second play I was in was again written and directed by the author: Shirl Hendryx's The last of Jane Austen. I had a small role as the boxing commissioner.

The third play was Reginald Rose's 12 Angry men directed by Matt jennings where I played juror number 11.

In February and March 2005 I played two more roles. The first was as Sir Charles Freeman in George Farquar's The Beaux Strategem. Farquar was originally from Derry and this play was played in Derry's first theatre: the Talbot The second was as the Gypsy Ishmael in the Victorian melodrama Maria Marten or Murder in the red barn' directed by Gerry Downey.

In 2006 my father had a fall which severely injured his knee. I went over to Spain to be with him. In the six months I spent there with him I produced my picture of the Rwandan Genocide , my Anti-War In Iraq Cristmass Card, , The Israeli Separation Wall , Pirates Attacking the Tower of Babel. We came over to Derry for a couple of months during which time I painted Our Garden Of Eden and completed a mural in Lincoln Court (220 KB), Derry.

Though I had promised myself a break from play acting, in 2007 Deigh Reid talked me into playing Big Chief Bromden in One Flew Over The Coockoo's Nest for the Playhouse at the Little Theatre in the old St Collumb's Hall during the course of which we discovered on the side of the stage behind a curtain, Tony O'Donnel's performance schedule still taped to the wall. Dony O'Donnel was a great man who introduced thousands of Derry children to the theatre by putting on Pantomimes. It was for his shows that Martin McDonald got me to do the robot lighting.

most of the cast on stage during a performance of One FlewOver the Cuckoo's Nest, Billy is pleading with nurse Ratched, Derry

One FlewOver the Cuckoo's Nest,2007 St Collumb's Hall

Tony O'Donnel's performance schedule still taped to the wall of the stage in St Collumb's Hall, Derry

Tony O'Donnel's performance schedule still taped to the wall of the stage in St Collumb's Hall, Derry

I showed my Siege of Derry pictures as well as a painting of Derry from the Waterside (as a work in progress) at a two day show at the Context as part of the Maiden City Festival.

In 2007 I painted a mural for the Rainbow Project which was opened by Martin McGuinness our deputy first minister.

I still do a fair bit of computing, not least maintaining this and other websites (implemented in Perl). I'm currently programming Objective-C under Cocoa to build the software for my Animated Paint



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Page last modified: 18:56 Sunday 12th. May 2013