Sculptor Rik Phillips Biography

When one thinks of metal, thereís a natural association to stability, longevity and strength. It is a necessary element in humankindís greatest achievements -- from industry, mechanics, construction, and commerce. "When I design a sculpture the components appear to be frozen in time, a suspended motion, a kinetic quality that defies the state in which it exists. I take this rigid material and create, bend, and weld it into organic geometric forms that represent a feeling of vulnerability and of movement."

Such is the case with the sculpture of Rik Phillips. His three-dimensional, geometric shapes have been given form and arranged to his will- and because of it- seem to move, dance, swirl and crawl, yet somehow simultaneously deconstruct, right before our eyes. But this time, itís the artist that has defied expectation and the metal has agreed. And it celebrates. It is this "impossible movement" that Rik Phillips has devoted himself to.

Rik's Biography

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As innovative and provocative as well-known sculptors Alexander Caulder and David Smith, 57-year-old American-born contemporary fine artist, Rik Phillips has had a 40 year-long career culminating with work as part of numerous public displays such as the one at the Boston Children's Museum and private collections, including Barbra Streisand and Armand Hammer. His award-winning sculptures have been described by fellow artist, Brother Andy, "as intellectually stimulating, rather than merely witty". From high heeled women's shoes with training wheels made entirely of wood to large-scale brightly colored metal public works one can walk through to strange "retro-futuristic" organic creatures of chrome, Phillips shows an unparalleled range in subject matter and use of materials in his work. He is a modern-day, cutting-edge Renaissance Man.

"My process has always been instinctual," says the robust artist Phillips in his Palm Springs, California, treasure-cluttered studio. "The ability to balance and counter balance comes second nature." That vision also has a base in an extensive formal education.

Born in Boston, MA, a gifted fourteen-year-old Rik won his first scholarship to the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts, followed by a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he received a Bachelors Degree in Education at age seventeen. After teaching Three Dimensional Design and Conceptual Art at Montserrat School of Visual Arts in Beverly, MA, Phillips exhibited works throughout the New England area, along side internationally-known artists such as Caulder and Chagall, as well as producing several highly successful one-man shows.

The impressive, large metal sculpture titled, "IO", was chosen as a "State Treasure" by the state of New Hampshire in 1993. A flurry of favorable magazine articles (such as "Better Homes And Gardens", "Yankee" and "Snow Country") were followed by television appearances ("Evening Magazine", "Good Morning", and "People, Place And Things").

"The response to my work has always been overwhelming positive," Phillips says proudly. "There is a great satisfaction to meet your idols who inspire you, to inspire others in their own creativity, and to inspire enjoyment on a daily basis in those who own the work."


From 1994 to 2007, Phillips exhibited sculptures in one-man shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Oahu, HI, the Kinipopo Gallery in Kapaa, Kauai, the Steynberg Gallery, SLO Art Center, Chris Sorenson Gallery and The Fig Tree Gallery in Fresno, CA. His work was also seen at The Palm Springs Art Museum and Exposure Gallery in Palm Springs, CA.

Jean Bradley, who is a fine art painter and married to Rik, supports his devotion to the arts. "Rik's abilities can be appreciated for their old-school technical skill as much as his fresh approach to problem solving, addressing the business aspects of being an artist and expressing himself intimately while maintaining integrity as a person and an artist. There is a truth about his work, as there is about him as a person," she says.

His personal life and subsequent creative work can be sectioned into three distinct phases: First, as an art teacher and as an artist-for-hire with commissions for architectural iron works such as gates -- which then evolved into large-scale public works which emphasized "counter-balanced" design patterns. His "craft" was developed "hands-on".

The second incarnation -- as full-time flourishing artist -- combined conventional metallurgy and wood-working methods with post-modernism, but always with a touch of humor or the "unexpected". 9-11 changed things. Living in Hawaii, with no tourists traveling at the time and, therefore, no patrons, Phillips made a move to California and changed directions in his professional aspirations as well.

The latest phase explores the Intriguism Art Method of Retro-futurism (see www.intriguism.com) through Phillips' experimental "Biomutant" series -- "low-brow art redefined as fine art while aiming at youth" through "high concept" outlets such as image licensing and product-placement marketing not usually associated with "traditional sculptures". Through the use of websites (see www.kauaiarts.com), well-crafted youtube videos, t-shirt designs and much more, the sculptures are the center of a multimedia "synergy". A recent "Biomutant" exhibition included neon colored drinks for guests, a fog machine, a laser light display, specially-designed pedestals built to resemble metal beams, eerie original music played in the background -- all staged for the "Biomutant" project in a gallery. The time of sculpture as a "multi-sensory experience" has arrived through the inventive presentations, complete with in-depth back-story.

"'Biomutants' are not only relative to today's culture," Rik espouses. "These outrageous sculptures are a valid way of utilizing available technology, making social commentary, and a tool to delve into future possibilities yet untapped. This is not just where I'm going. It's where we're all going to meet -- in the future -- and it's arrived today."

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