Biography

Rob Munday with his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

 © Rob Munday 2012

Rob and Felicity 1 © David Parry PA Wire.jpg

 © David Parry PA Wire 2022

Rob Munday FRSA was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in 1958, and grew up in the small coastal village of Caister-on-Sea. After gaining A-Levels in both the arts and sciences, he moved to Cornwall and Devon and, in 1983, graduated from Plymouth University/Plymouth College of Art with a BA(Hons) in Scientific and Technical Graphics, the first degree outside of the USA to specialise in the fledgling fields of computer graphics, television and video together with the more traditional subjects of photography, graphic design, and illustration. In his final year, he taught himself the new medium of holography and became one of the UK’s first generation of holographers.

 

After graduating, Rob gained employment at Richmond Holographic Studios, working with pioneering artists Edwina Orr and David Traynor, and, at the same time, founded his own private holography studio, the forerunner of the studio and company he still runs today.

 

In 1985, Rob was invited to help establish and run the world's first postgraduate degree in creative holography as one of the three founding members of staff of the Royal College of Art's Holography Unit.

During this time, Rob created some of the first computer-generated holographic stereogram artworks (1984), created the first-ever reflection holograms of living animals, being described by one magazine as the world's first 'wildlife holographer' (1984), designed and built the only dedicated holographic portrait studio outside of the USA (1985), and made the world's first micro-computer-generated holographic stereogram (1988).

In 1991, Rob left the RCA to run his own holography studio full time, build and operate the only holographic portrait studio in the UK, and build the world's first 3D digital hologram printer. In achieving the latter, Rob also created the world's first 3D digital holograms, both embossed and reflection holograms, in early 1992.

Working as both an artist and a technical innovator, and specialising in portraiture and natural subjects, Rob has created many unique holographic works and light sculptures that can be found in collections and galleries throughout the world. These include The National Portrait Gallery, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Royal Collections Trust, the UK Government Art Collection in London, the Imperial War Museum, the Maryland State Archives and the Fertitta Contemporary Art Collection.

Rob's portrait sitters include Her Majesty the Queen, the film actress, director, and UN ambassador Angelina Jolie, fashion icons Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, and Giancarlo Giammetti, rock stars Noel and Liam Gallagher, England footballer, and TV presenter Gary Lineker OBE, children’s laureates and best selling authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Anne Fine, Sir Michael Morpurgo, and Sir Quentin Blake, singer-songwriter Seal, TV presenter Carol Vorderman MBE, inventor and entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair, eminent American historian Dr. Edward Papenfuse and the distinguished WW1 veteran and world's oldest man Henry Allingham.

Rob's career-defining commission came in 2003 when he was asked to shoot and create the first-ever official 3D/holographic portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. In accepting the commission Rob became the first-ever Royal holographer. The portrait was commissioned by The Jersey Heritage Trust-The States of Jersey to commemorate the island's 800-year allegiance to the English throne and was conducted as a joint and equal creative collaboration between Rob and graphic designer, now artist Chris Levine. In 2011, The States of Jersey commissioned Rob individually to create the world's first holographic postage stamp to contain a holographic portrait of a Head of State to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Rob's portrait can also be seen adorning the world's first £100 banknote and was featured on the front cover of TIME Magazine in 2012. Also in 2012, the Queen was presented with one of Rob's portraits of herself on her official Diamond Jubilee visit to Richmond Park.

In 2013, Rob created the world’s first 24-carat gold holographic portrait miniature and in doing so brought into being a brand new portrait medium. The portrait received its inaugural public viewing at the Royal Miniature Society's prestigious annual exhibition in 2013 and was described by both Elizabeth Meek MBE, the President of the Royal Miniature Society, and the Rt. Hon. Michael Portillo, the Chairman of the Federation of British Artists, as ‘extraordinary and spellbinding’ and ‘the future of portrait miniatures.

In 2015 Rob was commissioned by ANOther Magazine and Chanel to create a portrait of international fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. The portrait adorned the cover of ANOther's 15th-anniversary issue, thought to be the world's first 3D fashion magazine cover, and a large format copy was presented to Karl by Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld later commissioned a second copy for his own art collection.

In 2016 Rob was commissioned to create a large-format three-dimensional portrait of the film actress, director, and UN ambassador Angelina Jolie for the 2017 launch of a new perfume by Guerlain Fragrance called Mon Guerlain. The portrait is thought to be the first of its kind to be commissioned by a world-leading luxury goods company to launch a new product and was shown in twenty-eight of the world's leading stores - see Angelina Jolie.

In 2017, Rob was privately commissioned by fashion designer Valentino and his long-term business partner Giancarlo Giammetti for 3D lenticular portraits.

in 2018 Rob's work entitled Naturalium 1 took pride of place in the exhibition 'Made in Britain' at Sotheby's, London, and his entire Naturalium series was purchased and hung as part of the Fertitta Contemporary Art Collection in Las Vegas, one of the largest contemporary art collections in the world.

Rob has also created holographic and lenticular light sculptures for many other blue-chip companies including Christian Dior, Mont Blanc, De Beers, John Calleija, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Ferrari, British Airways, Walt Disney, and Warner Bros.
 

In 1990 Rob received an Art, Science and Technology Award from the Art, Science and Technology Institute of Washington, D.C, USA, for his Holographic portraiture and museum holography.

In 1991, in order to create his art, Rob designed and built the world's first 3D digital hologram printer and created the world’s first 3D digital holograms. He is recognised as a pioneer in the development and implementation of digital holography and has won many awards for his technical innovations.

In 2005 Rob received the Royal Photographic Society’s Saxby Medal, the most prestigious international award for creative and technical achievements in the field of three-dimensional imaging and holography.

In 2022, Rob was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London.

PAPERS, INTERVIEWS & OTHER LINKS

An Interview for ES Magazine, 2019

An account of the project to record Her Majesty the Queen's portrait

Hologram portrait miniatures of Her Majesty the Queen by Rob Munday

The story of Felicity: Platinum Queen

An account of the Henry Allingham Project

An account of the Angelina Jolie-Guerlian portrait project

Rob Munday's scientific and technical achievements