This week’s blog post sees Outside In Manager Jennifer Gilbert visit the home of Phil Wildman as part of our ‘Artists’ Interiors’ series.
I have known Phil Wildman for around three years now after being introduced to him through the wonderful Sue Kreitzman. He has lived in several different houses since I have known him, but is now settled in north London in a lovely flat filled with his art. “I was lucky to have a large flat in Muswell Hill for a decade, with a large working area and plenty of cupboard space. Also, I had an extensive leafy patio which allowed for the cutting of frames and doing smelly work like gluing,” Phil notes. Phil calls his work ‘Neo Dada Junk Art’ and often describes it as ‘turning garbage into gold’ (G.I.G). He has been creating his art since the early 1970s and has shown work in several London galleries in the past. He has also worked as a designer on a fashion magazine.
In the first house of Phil’s that I saw, every room was full of art – including the bathroom, which had a small shelf up high with a series of sculptures on it. I was blown away by the diversity of his art, but also by how much he fitted in and how it worked so well in his flat. Phil says of being surrounded by his artwork: “In a living space it is nice to have work around you. It gives you immediate access to it, a chance to study the work in progress and it eliminates extra rent that could be wasted with empty space and it keeps my need to travel at bay.” As I walked into Phil’s current flat, colour, sculpture and collage surrounded me. Works made from found objects live on shelves, on walls, or have been placed on the floor or balanced on stools. It is fascinating to sit and listen to Phil regale the story behind each piece.
Then there are collages made from ripped magazines, found objects and junk mail, all given new life as characters or scenes devised by Phil. Alongside these are brightly coloured paintings overlaid with black and white hand-drawn elements, as well as sketchbooks full of scenes composed in coffee shops, depicting people Phil met during his years of extensive travelling to places like Greece and Italy. Today, Phil continues to make art, primarily in response to the human face – albeit it at a slower rate than before. For more of Phil’s work, click here to visit his Outside In gallery.