"We are delighted that Matt Phillips will be joining the art school in the Autumn term. Matt is inspired by the natural world and brings with him a wealth of experience from architectural painting, en Plein air painting, abstraction, portraiture landscape and sculpture. Since studying at the Slade Matt has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally including USA, Dubai, Abu Dhabi. As an artist in residence in Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, Matt’s connections and influences are diverse and well reflected in his art works." Isabel H Langtry, HSoA Principal
Matt, please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Hampstead to American parents, and have been working as an artist for about 20 years. I took a summer foundation course at the Slade, studied at the Royal Drawing School, and also studied at the Hampstead School of Art in the early 2000s. I started doing portrait painting, and subsequently branched out into landscape painting, and sculpture. In recent years I've focused primarily on oil painting of London and American buildings - trailers, motels, municipal buildings. I've sculpted in clay, cast in plaster and resin, painted with oils, acrylics and watercolours, used wood and welded metal in my artwork. I've exhibited in the UK, US and Middle East.
What inspires you and your work?
I'm interested in people, the lives we lead, our interactions with our environment, and the emotional impact of our surroundings. My work attempts to convey emotional states and human narrative. I love strong light, shadows, texture, blocks of colour, and horizon. My process varies depending on subject and material, but I find in general the beginning of a project very exciting, attempting to birth my ideas into the real world. Making art is hard work, but highly rewarding and fulfilling.
What does teaching mean to you?
Having had superb teachers early in my career, I know how important it is to have someone supporting a student through the myriad of choices and the sometimes daunting process of making art. I have experience with a wide range of materials, so am excited to share that knowledge. Teaching art is unique because it's about helping students find what's exciting to them, and nurturing the approach and skills needed to realise their goals. It's facilitating the creative process, rather than imposing an approach or saying 'you need more yellow there'. Though sometimes I might say that, too!
And finally, could you tell us about the class you will be tutoring this term?
Abstract and Open Painting is a class for those who either have a project in mind they'd like to be supported in creating, know generally what they'd like to make but require some guidance in approach, or those who love the idea of abstract work and would appreciate bouncing ideas around while painting. We can talk art, process, materials or concept - it's entirely up to you. The goal is to facilitate making interesting art, while pushing ourselves and learning along the way.