About Philip Garrett
Philip Garrett was born in Liverpool England. From an early age, art was his strongest and favourite subject although it was not encouraged in him to pursue,as a career on leaving school. After a year of unhappy different jobs, he finally applied to Art school but was rejected as he did not have a Maths and English GCSE. He was accepted on a BTEC for Display and Exhibition Design at Hugh Baird College, Merseyside. This was a basic Graphics course with some workshop and display skills relevant for the retail sector. Although doing well on this course and gaining a distinction, Philip had a strong leaning towards wanting to draw and experience something he had heard of called 'Fine Art.' However the life drawing room was only for the art foundation students only. The next step was to attend nearby Southport College on an art Foundation for one year and then Wolverhampton University for a three year Degree in Fine Art. Although gaining some skills in Printmaking. He had received no academic art instruction from either institutions so left with no real knowledge of traditional drawing skills which he had wanted to acquire.
The next five years were spent on a combination of different activities outside of art. Different manual and building jobs in the UK and sometimes abroad. Music had also become a passion and he now played guitar in different bands. Art, although on the back burner, was never far away with etchings and dry-points being the preferred medium to create work. This period lasted from 1995 to 1999 when Philip opted for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. The plan was to teach in schools which could help fund the path as an artist. For the next twelve years he taught at first full time in secondary schools before switching to teaching part time as his self employed work increased. What had initially become a financially motivated decision became one that still resonates with him today. That is of working alongside children or adults in helping them develop their own artistic skills.
In 2001 Philip met local architectural sculptor Terry MacDonald at the Liver Sketching Club, a life drawing class in Liverpool. Now 89 years old, Terry had been apprenticed to Architectural sculptor Herbert Tyson Smith (1883-1972) in the years 1946-56. This meeting was extremely important to Philip and his biggest influence to date. Terry mentored him on the subject of Art anatomy, academic line drawing and later on all, aspects of sculpture. Despite attending a two year Masters in printmaking at the Royal College of Art from 2004 to 2006 the seed had been sewn to learning a totally traditional approach to his practice. Something which put him at odds with RCA at the time.
After a one month residency in Mojacar Spain at Fundacion Valparaiso in 2006, Philip returned to Liverpool where he is now based. He has had two workshop studios in this time and also works as a commercial artist. Some of the work undertaken has included letter carving, signwriting, murals, drawn and painted portraiture , relief sculpture Portrait busts, illustration, and statue commissions. There have also been many local group exhibitions and a solo show in Liverpool in 2016. Philip continues his own work as a sculptor by selecting historical figures that are usually local but reflect his own Humanist and Socialist influenced views on life and society. The people depicted are nearly always individuals that have made a huge difference to the majority or have excelled in their own chosen field. His next planned exhibition is a solo show at Kirkby Art Gallery (near Liverpool) in Feb 2020.
More recently there seen a more concentrated involvement with drawn and painted portraiture which stands alongside his practice as a sculptor. Current projects are the modelling of a half size female standing nude and the installation of Philip's first life size figure of a seated boy in the Town of Kirkham, near Blackpool, England.In Feb 2019, Philip travelled to Australia to undertake a commission for a primary school based just north of Sydney. (For further details see John Colet)
Philip now continues to work in his studio in Liverpool and is gaining more interest in his work as both a sculptor and artist locally. He works full time but still takes on teaching a number of times each year by running classes from his workshop and visiting schools as an artist in residence.