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Guy Portelli (born 13 June 1957) is a contemporary British sculptor and the winner of Dragons' Den (UK) in 2008.
He was born in South Africa in 1957, but moved permanently to England with his parents in 1969, who had each come earlier to Britain to study as art students. He lived largely with his grandfather in Southend during the initial move. The family moved to Tonbridge in the early 1970s, where he still lives. He studied at the Hugh Christie School in Tonbridge. He left school at 16 to study at Medway College of Art. Originally studying interior design this changed to a focus on sculpture in his second year. Whilst at college he started his own business, designing theatre sets, employing around 20 people.
On graduation, he found work designing hotel interiors but continued a part-time course in sculpture at Chelsea Art College (where his parents had studied).
His father, of Maltese ancestry, had success as a cameraman and film-maker, and died in 1974, when Guy was only 17. Portelli’s own son died aged only 13.
Portelli began sculpting at age 17.
In 2008, Portelli gained £80,000 from three investors of the TV programme Dragons' Den, convincing them that modern art is a viable and realistic investment. This centred upon his “Pop Icons” collection, 18 pieces exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London. This instantly raised his public profile.
Principal sculptural works
- Masai Warrior, Commonwealth Institute (1983)
- 13 Greek Goddesses, London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus (1987)
- Opera Terrace fountain, Covent Garden, London (1987)
- Sculptures for the Townswomen’s Guild, Chelsea Flower Show (1990)
- 5m high sculpture of Sir Rowland Hill, Shrewsbury (1991)
- Eagle Gates, Guernsey (1997)
- Multiple sculptures for the Trafford Centre, Manchester (1998)
- 6m English Lavender, Sainsbury’s, London Borough of Sutton (1999)
- Palio Horses, Sienna Building, Hatton Garden (1999)
- Sculpture of Group Captain Townsend, West Malling Airfield (2002)
- Mandela (mosaic, 2011)
- Spirit of 71, Swansea Museum (2011)
- The Torch, Tonbridge (2014)
Pop Icons project
- Spice Girls
- The Material Girl (Madonna)
- Post Punk (Sex Pistols)
- Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
- Meridian (Led Zeppelin)
- The Three Graces (Grace Jones)
- Jeff Beck
- Michael Jackson
- Rocket Man (Elton John)
- "The Dragon King - Sculptor Guy Portelli", Kent Life, 3 March 2011
- "Guy Portelli website". portelli-sculptor.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
- "French maiden descends on Piccadilly". News. The Times (62954). London. 17 December 1987. p. 3. (Subscription required (. ))
- Christopher Warman Property Correspondent (27 May 1988). "New act for the London Pavilion". Feature Articles (aka Opinion). The Times (63092). London. p. 34. (Subscription required (. ))
- "Picture Gallery". The Times (64312). London. 21 April 1992. p. 5. (Subscription required (. ))
- Guy Portelli (2005). Modern British Sculpture. Schiffer Pub. ISBN 978-0-7643-2111-5.
- John Russell Taylor (8 June 2005). "No surprise that a summer show of Art Nouveau proves Brussels is a city with style". Reviews. The Times. London. (Subscription required (. ))