ARTIST in CON.TEXT: Phil Illingworth

DifferanceDifférance, 2014

Phil Illingworth has exhibited in the UK, the USA, and at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Exhibitions include ‘Frightening Albert’, the inaugural show at WW Gallery’s Hatton Garden premises, and ‘North South Divine’ – both chosen as exhibition of the week by Paul Hobson, former director of the Contemporary Art Society. He was selected for John Moores prize exhibition in 2010 – the UK’s most prestigious painting prize, the Marmite Prize IV, twice for the Salon Art Prize, and the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013. He co-founded IDprojects, and is currently developing work for new exhibitions.

Where are you based?

My time is divided between the south coast of England, and central France. Two very different locations!

What is your artistic background?

After art college I worked as a graphic designer and illustrator to make a living. Once I turned back to my own art practice I was able to start to shake off the frustrations of being shackled to someone else’s brief. It took a couple of years to rid myself of some of the effects, but now I only answer to myself.

How would you describe your work?

Exploration. I’m looking for things that make me excited.

What types of media do you work with?

I use whatever is necessary to express a particular idea or set of ideas, so the media I use varies enormously, depending on what I’m up to. As a consequence I frequently find myself seeking out new materials for a specific purpose.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have several things on the go or in the pipeline at the moment. Some are extensions of ideas I have been working on for a while, others are brand new. They are predominantly 3D, with some 2D and some purely conceptual in the mix. It’s a fairly normal state of affairs for me.

What influences your work?

Almost everything around me. But I try very hard not to take too much notice of what the art world thinks.

What is your daily creative schedule?

If it’s running how I like it, I begin with an early walk to clear my head and think things through, followed by a coffee while I get emails and any admin out of the way, then I get started. The direction the day takes next will vary, depending on whether I’m in the process of making or working on ideas.

What environment do you like to work in?

I prefer to work where I know where everything is. I get irritated if I can’t find something I need – at best it slows me down but at worst it stops me in my tracks.

“Climax” is the theme of our third print issue. What does the word “Climax” mean to you?

Zenith, or point of no return maybe, but it depends on the context. For example a piece of music can come to a climax, but it doesn’t mean it’s finished. The afterglow is important – without that a climax is just a full stop.

Caput_mortuumCaput mortuum, 2012


Cowboys, (video, still shown), 2011

A_drawing_of_a_room,_47.244m3A drawing of a room, 47.244m3, 2010

Photos courtesy of the artist.

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