MICHAEL PHILLIPS - VISUAL ARTIST
Michaelís journey as an artist began with a career in web design and graphics design. Photography and music were important hobbies at this time, but a health crisis produced the inevitable epiphany that his motivation had always been creativity and that returning to those roots would facilitate healing. When hearing loss and tinnitus ended musical interests, he turned with greater enthusiasm to photography and painting, eventually devoting his attention to a career as a full-time artist.
After receiving his training from local landscape and wildlife painter John Mac Kah, Michael began working with oils, using all traditional materials and mediums. He makes his own panels using Baltic birch and linen as a support and traditional gesso as a ground. Working with the indirect painting method, using traditional mediums and layering techniques, Michael paints in a realist style using traditional pigments. He has studied Rembrandt’s palette and style extensively and typically only works with pigments that would have been available to that great master. Michael's goal is to bring the same sensitivity and character to our animal friends that Rembrandt did for people. As a result, the wildlife portraits have presence and depth, bringing a personality and anthropomorphic quality to the animals. Most of his animal portraits are built up in layers of semi-transparent earth tones, giving them stronger light and subtlety. With his landscapes, he works entirely plein air in order to capture the light and impression of the moment, favoring the Realism, Romantic, and Luminist movements of the 19th century.

Michael is a student of the work of Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Ilya Repin, Diego Velazquez, Ivan Kramskoi, Ivan Shishkin, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Edwin Church, Jacob van Ruisdael, Meindert Hobbema, and Leonardo Da Vinci. He also studies the work of 19th century landscape artists such as Samuel Lancaster Gerry, Claude Monet, Oswald Achenbach, and William Bliss Baker. He considers Odd Nerdrum to be the greatest living painter in the Old World tradition. Michael ultimately aspires to bring the same qualities found in the work of those artists to his own style, while creating art which displays a unique perspective.

His work has been featured at the Fine Arts League of the Carolinas, at Roots Cafe in the River Arts District in Asheville, NC, and in the Laurel of Asheville magazine.