Philip Eliot Padwe



Born in Dallas, TX, I was given up for adoption at birth and raised in New York by an Agnostic Jewish family. I recently discovered my birth-mother was not only an Irish ex-nun, born and raised in Dublin and Roscommon, but that my biological father is a born again Pentecostal preacher. Fire and brimstone... end times prophecies... fun stuff. Meeting my birth-mother's family in Ireland last year, and recently receiving Irish citizenship, has opened exciting new avenues for artistic and narrative exploration.

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 seeks a balance between apparent opposites: highly finished and unfinished; black and white and brilliant color; between the abstract and the concrete; usually while exploring identity and mood and using the figure as muse. I often use both breath and water in my drawings by focusing on “auras” in the form of abstract splash-work incorporated into compositions and backgrounds. Having spent the past 10 years painting people’s auras as part of realistic portraiture, but never realizing that’s what I was doing, I was amused to recently discover that my paternal great-grandmother was a highly regarded psychic all her life!

I was fortunate to live with my wife in London for 2 years where I completed a year long independent study of Old Master drawings at The British Museum. It 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.  


A lifelong NYer I'm a member at The Art Students League since 2017 where I studied with Frederick Brosen and Costa Vavagiakis. Currently enrolled f/t at the New York Academy of Art as an MFA candidate for the class of 2021.


I owe my growth as an artist, and the inspiration for making the leap from Art Director and children's book author, to artist, to museums. At age 35 I spent a year drawing only from marble busts in the Greek & Roman collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I took a job working evenings as a watchman there, half for the benefits and half for the art access. My background was in white-collar marketing, illustration, and graphic design before that.

Because those marble busts at The Met are white stone, and lit by professional lighting designers, they make for spectacular models with deep, pronounced, shadows emphasizing their forms. Perfect subjects on which to hone one's drawing skills. So four or five nights a week for a year I'd sketch ancient sculpture. Without daylight to change the lighting and without people to ruin the ambience, those hundreds of nights were a hushed, silent, gift.

I filled 20 sketchbooks in 3 years with nearly 1,000 drawings. More importantly I became friends with fellow artists for the first time and participated in my first group shows as a "guardist" where I saw my name and work featured in The New York Times and was interviewed on NPR and NY1 News, as well as WNYC radio. Attention which I was admittedly surprised by, and unprepared for.


I left the museum to freelance as an illustrator and Art Director, got married, and my wife and I moved to London where I had the opportunity to study Old Master drawings at The British Museum's department of Prints & Drawings on a weekly basis. I spent a lot of hours making pencil copies of Old Master drawings in the heart of London and it was there that I learned to REALLY draw. Handling and copying drawings by Durer, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Ingres and Menzel, amongst dozens of others, was one of the highlights of my life!

My mid-life, self-education was remarkably well rounded; and I owe it entirely to museums. From my years sketching and drawing at the Met I learned composition and was exposed to wildly varied art and artists. I formed relationships and had conversations that changed my understandings of the function and significance of art. From the British Museum I learned technique by making faithful, line-for-line copies of various Old Master Renaissance, Baroque, and Pre-Raphaelite drawings. Finally, from traveling and visiting hugely important cultural touchstones first hand as an expatriate artist, I learned art history.


I owe all my cultural growth to museums. In Europe, where they're largely free to the public, they represent a great democratization of both culture and history. They're available for anyone to do the same as I did. In America they're something different. More exclusive and somewhat inaccessible which is a real shame.

The following is a list of the collections to which I find myself indebted having visited them with sketchbook in hand... either for time spent drawing in their galleries, or just for having such stunning collections:

·       The British Museum (London)

·       The Louvre (Paris)

·       The Hermitage (St. Petersburg)

·       The Prado (Madrid)

·       The Uffizi (Florence)

·       The Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)

·       The Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)

·       The Kunsthistoriches Museum (Vienna)

·       The Alte Pinakothek (Munich)

·       The Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid)

·       St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican City)

·       The Sistine Chapel (Vatican City)

·       The  Vatican Museums (Vatican City)

·       Sforza Castle (Milan)

·       Rembrandt's House (Amsterdam)

·       Dürer's House (Nuremberg)

·       Rubens' House (Antwerp)

·       Palazzo Corsini (Rome)

·       Doria Pamphilj (Rome)

·       Villa Farnesina (Rome)

·       Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan)

·       Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie (The Last Supper) (Milan)

·       The Accademia (Florence)

·       The Accademia (Venice)

·       The Doges Palace (Venice)

·       The Irish National Gallery (Dublin)

·       The National Gallery (London)

·       The National Portrait Gallery (London)

·       The Queen's Gallery (London)

·       The Courtauld Museum (London)

·       The Kelvingrove Museum (Edinburgh)

·       The Hunterian Museum (London)

·       Natural History Museum (London)

·       The Acropolis (Athens)

·       The Parthenon (Athens)

·       The Pantheon (Rome)

·       Stonehenge (UK)

·       The Victoria & Albert Museum (London)

·       The Tate Britain (London)

·       The Tate Modern (London)

·       The Capitoline Museum (Rome)

·       Casa Buonarroti (Florence)

·       The Bargello (Florence)

·       Opera del Duomo (Florence)

·       Sir John Sloane's Museum (London)

·       The Wallace Collection (London)

·       The Winter Palace (St. Petersburg)

·       The Borghese Gallery  (Rome)

·       The Leopold Museum  (Vienna)

·       The Albertina (Vienna)

·       The Ashmolean Museum (Oxford)

·       The Museum of Fakes (Falschermuseum, Vienna)

·       The Picasso Museum (Barcelona)

·       Neuschwanstein Castle (Bavaria)

·       The Hagia Sophia (Istanbul)

·       The Belvedere Castle (Vienna)

·       The Metropolitan Museum of Art

·       The Frick

·       The Morgan Library

·       The Neue Gallery

·       Museum of Modern Art

·       The American Museum of Natural History

·       The Smithsonian

·       The Getty Museum

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

Magazine Articles:

• “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.


Newspaper Articles:

• 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)


Internet Features:

NPR: The Author and His Ink, September 14, 2007.

© 2019 Phil Padwe. All rights reserved. 

New York, NY  • 

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