We had the good fortune of connecting with Ken Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ken, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
Throughout my life I have been fortunate to work and live in creative roles and environments, predominantly in the areas of visual art, music, teaching, writing, and ministry. From my childhood through the present day (nearly 70) I have found myself, and outright sought, places and people and situations where I was able (or where I was hired) to engage my imaginative sensibilities and my creative gifts. Since my grade-school years I have pretty much continually been involved in the process of meaning-making with others and by myself every year of my life, and this has given me direction, made my life meaningful, and blessed me tremendously. I find myself happiest and most alive when I am able to be actively creative.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Picasso is quoted as saying: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” Unless a road block has been created in their development, children play freely through paint, crayons, pretending, moving, making language, etc. I was caught by the making bug early on in my life, cutting and pasting colors and shapes to form compositions that pleased me. I have worked (played) at cut-and-paste continually, to express the wisdom and energy of the child inside of me. Though I studied printmaking and ceramics years ago, my current art and the art of the last 30 years or so, has been in the area of textile collage work, making hangings of various sizes and themes. I have mostly been inspired by myths, both cultural and personal, and engagement of the human form. I also continue doing graphic work that harkens back to my printmaking days and an abiding love for black and white design.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I am connected to a person, most often it is because we share an affinity through creative life. I’d take that friend to museums (DAM, Kirkland, MCA, Museo de las Americas), places of natural beauty (Botanic Gardens, Rocky Mountain National Park, Garden of the Gods) movies that engage, and food venues that satisfy in more ways than just filling our gut. (DOMO, Russian Cafe, Mataam Fez, Parisi’s) I’d want to take my friend to eateries that connect us to our travels, and places that inspire awe and wonder and stir our creative lives.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I believe that no one crafts a successful and meaningful life journey in isolation. I am predominantly shaped by the teachers of my life: Beatrice Thorpe, Bill Auth, Rose Gilbert, Harriet Stolorow, John Keefer, Ron Bandy, Dave Cayton, Pat Schnapp and dozens of others who, in and out of the classroom, through their belief in me and through their example, moved me into arenas of living that I scarcely had imagined for myself.
Bear Gutierrez (photo with self) Matthew Ilas (4 photos of work)