Born in Dallas, TX, I was given up for adoption at birth by an ex-nun and raised in New York by a Jewish family. I recently discovered that my birth-mother was not only an Irish nun ( Order of the Clares for 17 years); born and raised in Dublin and Roscommon; but that she was orphaned at age 5 and was similarly adopted (by extended family). Meeting my birth-mother's family in Ireland, and recently receiving Irish citizenship, have opened exciting new avenues for artistic and narrative exploration. I also discovered this year I have a half-sister who's 9 months older than me (who's awesome) with whom I share a father. Met him for the first time too. Ask me about that story in person...
There is a natural sense of duality: Catholic and Jewish; Texan and New Yorker; Irish and American; intrinsic to my thinking and it extends plainly to my work. My art has always sought a balance between apparent opposites: highly finished and unfinished; black and white and brilliant color; between abstractions and realism; usually while exploring identity and mood using the figure as muse.
My current work uses sewing patterns for layering and collage and I've been tearing them for re-assembly in unexpected ways as a metaphor for my adoption and a lifetime spent seeking balance. Between nature and nurture; impulse and control; and the recognition that oftentimes things don’t work out as planned. Patterns are broken and original intentions become marred; all seems lost and then, suddenly, beauty and meaning emerge from mayhem. Expectations are adjusted as layers of weathering become visible... and I also love the color of the pattern paper; it reminds me of flesh and the patina of Old Master drawings on linen and parchment.
10 years ago I was a guard at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the night shift and I filled 20 sketchbooks with nearly 1,000 drawings... that's where I learned to 'really draw.' After leaving the Met I was fortunate to live, with my wife, in London for a couple of years where I completed a year-long independent study of Old Master drawings at The British Museum. Having London as a launchpad also allowed dozens of trips to the great touchstones of Western art; the museums and cathedrals of Europe, where we were able to 'drink from the source' and walk in the footsteps of the great masters. It turns out that visiting Rome and Florence six or seven times gives you a pretty well rounded grasp of the Renaissance... go figure.
A lifelong NYer, I was self taught until my 40's when I joined The Art Students League and studied with Frederick Brosen and Costa Vavagiakis. I'm currently an MFA candidate at the New York Academy of Art where I've been fortunate to study with Michael Grimaldi, Jon DeMartin, and Randy McIver.
BIO (as illustrator, 10+ years ago):
Children's Books (by Phil):
• Padwe, Phil; Mommy Has A Tattoo; Mommy Has Tattoos, Publisher; 2006
• Padwe, Phil; Tattoo Coloring Book #1; Mommy Has Tattoos, Publisher; 2006
• Padwe, Phil; Mami Hat Ein Tattoo; Mommy Has Tattoos, Publisher/Wildcat; 2007
• Padwe, Phil; Tattoo Malbuch; Mommy Has Tattoos, Publisher/Wildcat; 2007
• Padwe, Phil; Daddy Has A Tattoo; Mommy Has Tattoos, Publisher, 2011
• Padwe, Phil; Tattoo Coloring Book #2; Mommy Has Tattoos, Publisher, 2012
• “Mammy Has A Tattoo”; Tattoo Society; January, 2009
• “What’s That, Mommy?”; Parenting Magazine; October 2008
• “Tattoo Coloring Book & Mommy Has A Tattoo”; Skin & Ink; January 2008
• “Mommy Has A Tattoo”; Skin Deep Magazine; May, 2007
• Feature; “Making Their Mark”; Trucker News; May, 2007
• “Mommy Has A Tattoo”; Tattoos For Women; January, 2007
• Perry; “Mommy Has A Tattoo”; Total Tattoo Magazine; November, 2006
• Sharer, Lisa; “Mommy Has A Tattoo”; Prick Magazine; September, 2006
Radio (Talk Show) Appearances:
NPR: The Bryant Park Project. Alison Stewart. September 13, 2007.
SPIN 1038 Radio, Dublin, Ireland.
Capitol Radio, London UK.
KMOX Radio, St. Louis, MO.
KBPI Radio; The Locker Room. Denver, CO.
WBAL Radio; Morning Radio. Baltimore, MD.
WDVE Radio; Pittsburgh, PA.
92Q Radio, Syracuse, NY.
• Koppel, Niko; “Hoping to Graduate From Guards to Gaugins”; New York Times; March 6, 2010 (artwork)
• Eng, Heather; “Don’t let tattoos get under your skin!”; The Boston Herald; September 18, 2006
• Gardner, Jan; “Marked men (and women)”; The Boston Globe; June 10, 2007
• McNamara, Chris; “Kids book says don’t fret about mom’s tattoos”; Chicago Tribune; October 15, 2006
• Proudfoot, Shannon; “Children’s book tackles ‘tattoo tolerance’”; Winnipeg Free Press; November 23, 2006
• Giarrusso, Theresa; “Do you have a tattoo, Mommy?”; Atlanta Journal Constitution; September 15, 2006
• Schoenberg, Nara; “Children, these pictures are called tattoos”; Chicago Tribune; October 17, 2007
• Shrieves, Linda; “Tattoo you, Mommy?”; Orlando Sentinal; September 18, 2006
• Eckler, Rebecca; “Parenting is not just about babies”; The Globe And Mail; November 10, 2006
• Lubrano, Alfred; “Unconventional Wisdom: Books for kids that would leave indelible mark”; October 8, 2006
• “The marketing of evil: Discriminate against tattoos, piercings at your own risk”; World Net Daily; November, 2006
• Lamberson, Carolyn; “Mommy’s body art can be source of stories and stares.” The Spokesman Review; October 30, 2006
• “Mommy Inkiest”; Houston Press; September 3, 2006
• “Coloring in the lines”; Happy Kiddo; September 20, 2006
• Bad Girls From Valley High. Dir. John T. Kretchmer. Universal Studios, 2005. (Songwriting credits; also appeared as “Heavy Metal Singer” in Music Video featured in the film).
• Red Light, Go. KSK Studios. 2002. (Songwriting credits)
NPR: The Author and His Ink, September 14, 2007.