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 lifelong 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 who 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, preferring 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’.