I was raised in New York by a Jewish family after being given away for adoption at birth. My father died when I was ten of a prolonged illness, and then very rapidly my mother began dating; remarried when I was eleven; and then divorced when I was twelve. By age fourteen I was a runaway and by seventeen I'd made it as far as Ohio, California, and Florida. Rather than cling to a cycle of instability in adulthood I turned to "art" much the way the AbEx painters did: to wrestle with what I hoped to never fully control. So I draw (and paint) on strange grounds. And I love to draw. 

I recently discovered that my birth-mother was not just an Irish nun born and raised in Dublin and Roscommon; but that she was orphaned at age five and similarly adopted (except by her father's family). HER mother too (my maternal grandmother) never knew her own mother; my great-grandmother died a day after giving birth to my grandmother when the doctor accidentally prescribed an overdose of the wrong medication. Making me the third generation in a row to never know my own mother. Just last year meeting her family in Dublin, and recently receiving Irish citizenship, have 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; high brow and lowbrow; intrinsic to my thinking and it extends plainly to my work. My art has always sought a balance between apparent opposites: the 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 life journey. Then I draw on them, paint on them, throw everything but the kitchen sink at them. Like life does. The idea of drawings as more than "merely an image" but as individual objects, sometimes sacred objects; affected by the passing of time and by the way they're lit, has recently become part of my artistic thinking. Much the way a painting is also "a canvas" my drawings are becoming "a thing,"


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 for a year. I'm currently an MFA candidate at the New York Academy of Art where I've had the unbelievable experience of studying with Wade Schuman, Jon DeMartin, Michael Grimaldi, Roberto Osti, and many others who've blown my mind and rapidly added to my skills.

About Phil

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.

© 2020 Phil Padwe. All rights reserved. 

New York, NY  • 

  • Wix Facebook page
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon