Philip Colbert

Living and working in London. Colbert is known for his multi-disciplinary approach, creating a "World of Art" working across sculpture, painting, clothing and performance to create a unique contemporary voice. 

He is known for his bold sequin embroidery paintings and sculptures and for having created the world renowned design brand THE RODNIK BAND. Described by Andre Leon Talley as "the Godson of Andy Warhol."

Philip Colbert’s strong use of colour and abstraction of iconic imagery place his work within an engaging dialogue with the contemporary post pop art movement. Like his Pop Art predecessors, he employs distilled compelling symbols of mass culture and re-contextualizes them in his life to create a provocative, multi-disciplinary satirical language of his own. 

Colbert conceives the 1950s American kitchen aesthetic as the foundation of ‘Pop’ and distills it with his own playful response to important icons and symbols, such as meat imagery, prominent in the work of Soutine and Francis Bacon, and the iconic image of fried eggs, which Colbert describes as "mini Mondrian's with irreverent humour". In doing so, he creates a dialogue with established ideas and works of the past. He ironically pastiches this imagery, playing on the notion that their repetition and overuse over the years have rendered them ultimate icons of pop culture.

"I am interested in art of the everyday. I am inspired by everyday symbols that can unlock profound meaning, I want to wallpaper my life with these symbols, from my suits, cars and interiors, for me LIFE and living is the ultimate essence of art”.

Colbert has exhibited in fairs, museums and galleries worldwide, such as:  Miami Basil, the Van Gogh Museum, the Design Exchange in Canada, and in the recent World Goes POP show at TATE Modern.

What is your artistic background? 

I am self taught as a painter and studied philosophy at St. Andrews University in Scotland. My view is that everything starts with philosophy.

Did you know you wanted to pursue this path or did you have other interests? 

Art has always been my main interest. From a young kid, it was always paintings and sculpture that intrigued me the most with aesthetic culture. I loved the power of value and associated storytelling they were given, treasures that were beautiful to look at. After studying philosophy, I decided that I wanted to make things, and make my philosophy real and engage with life physically. 

How important is fun and experimentation to your studio practice? 

For me humour and creative freedom are paramount, humour allows us to shake the cage of our imprisoning thought structures, and touch a greater sense of truth. The truth that everything is absurd and arts greatest strength is to reveal in this absurdity. Freedom to move between genres is key also, as it’s limiting to think in traditional confined stereotypes. For me, an artist should be free to make a world of ideas. 

What is a typical day like for you?

On a typical day, I walk to the studio around 9am, which takes around 15 minutes, then I work till around 7pm. I find creativity comes when you least expect it, so spending lots of time in the studio helps. :)

Share an experience that had a significant impact on your art career.

A significant impact on my art career was meeting Jeff Koons in an art gallery in Edinburgh when I was a student. It was in a period when he was perhaps less well known than today, yet had created some provoking work. He was giving a talk in a small gallery there and I had traveled to meet him. He did a drawing for me after the talk and told me the story of how he had met Dali when he was a student and how that effected him. I liked how artists created their own mythology and connection to art history through the simple act of a meeting, and it inspired me to think that I was free to engage in this narrative.

What are you currently working on? 

I am working on a big art show for Miami Basel in Dec 2017.