Phil Padwe


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 New York Academy of Art where I've studied with Wade Schuman, Jon DeMartin, Michael Grimaldi, and John Jacobsmeyer and benefited enormously from the insights of Margaret Bowland. 



MFA Candidate (class of 2021) at NYAA (currently enrolled)

Studied under:

Michael Grimaldi

Wade Schuman
Jon DeMartin

John Jacobsmeyer

Roberto Osti

Thomas Germano

Randy McIver


Art Students League of New York
Studied under:

Frederick Brosen

Costa Vavagiakis 

Workshops / Intensives:

Dan Thompson (Gross Anatomy Labs at Weill/Cornell)

Marc Dennis 

Wendy Artin

Timothy Clark

Linda Cyr




2010, Group exhibition, “Swipe!” 25 CPW Gallery, New York, NY

2013, Group exhibition, “Swipe Magazine Artists” National Arts Club, New York, NY

2017, Group exhibition, "The Spring Art Exhibition" Wix Lounge (Chelsea) New York, NY

2017, Group exhibition, "Single Fare 4" Highline Stages (Chelsea) New York, NY

2018, Group exhibition, "Anatomical Drawing" Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, New York, NY

2018, Group exhibition, "Watercolors" Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, New York, NY

2019, Group exhibition, "Fluidity" Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, New York, NY

2019, Group exhibition, "Deck The Walls" New York Academy of Art, New York, NY

2020, Group exhibition, "Spaces" New York Academy of Art, New York, NY





• Juxtapoz Magazine - "Art in Uncertain Times" April 10, 2020

• WYNC radio, “Guards and Artists” The Leonard Lopate Show March 25, 2010.

• NPR Morning Edition, Margot Adler, ”Museum Guards Swipe The Spotlight” March 22, 2010

• New York Times, "Hoping to Graduate From Guards to Gauguins" March 5, 2010 

As Author/Illustrator:


  • 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.

  • NPR: The Bryant Park Project. Alison Stewart. September 13, 2007.

  • WDVE Radio; Pittsburgh, PA.

  • 92Q Radio, Syracuse, NY.



• "Illustrating Ink"; Skin & Ink Magazine; August, 2012

• “Mammy (sic) 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

© 2020 Phil Padwe. All rights reserved. 

New York, NY  • 

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