Meet our resident artist Peter Phillips and learn all about his multifaceted career, creative process, and inspirations – plus, how his experience has influenced his approach to developing Castle Arts products.
Hi, Peter. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and give us an insight into your career as an artist?
I'm a multi-faceted artist with a background in various aspects of art, design, and concept architecture. Post-college, my career has taken me through roles as a fine artist, illustrator, muralist, sculptor, architectural designer, creative director, art director, writer, and more, spanning across the UK, Spain, Scandinavia, Azerbaijan, and the Middle East.
What does an average day look like as a resident artist at Castle Arts?
No two days are the same – one day I could be creating new art or putting together tutorials, and another I could be designing an exciting new product range or working on the artwork for our packaging. I’m also involved in storyboarding, product testing, research, evaluating competitor’s products, and directing photography for product listings and graphic design.
The diversity of my work not only keeps each day interesting but also positions me as a well-rounded creative professional. The intersection of art, education, design, and business in your work reflects a holistic approach to creativity that is both dynamic and impactful.
You’ve worked with many mediums across your career. Do you have a favorite?
Traditional mediums. From charcoal to oil, and all the techniques in between.
Which art movements would you say have been most influential on your practice?
The Italian Renaissance has been a pivotal influence – this period and its revival of interest in classical learning and culture was so transformative in European history. It had a profound impact on several fields including painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, philosophy, science, technology, and exploration.
The Bauhaus School of Design has also been a significant influence. It was radical in its uniting of modern design and architecture with art, craft, and technology.
How did you get started as an artist?
My journey began at university where I was supported by various scholarships and bursaries. I completed over five years of graduate and post-graduate study encompassing fine art, illustration, sculpture, graphic design, art history/appreciation and television/video, with a special interest in architecture.
How would you describe your creative process?
With any new piece I’ll identify my goal first, then it’s time for research, whether mental or hard. It’s important at this stage to keep an open mind and understand that change is good. I’ll then try to roughly visualize my thoughts before planning the route ahead.
Next, I’ll create the work in stages, and once it’s complete, self-critique and feedback are both crucial parts of the process. Finally, I’ll promote my work.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration surrounds me; it's in life itself, and even in death.
What, or who, are your biggest artistic influences?
Michelangelo is everything I wanted to be – an artist, sculptor, poet, and genius with a ‘forever’ legacy.
What artworks or recent projects are you most proud of?
'Dunstanburgh Dawn’ - Dunstanburgh Castle. Private collection, large-scale oil painting.
‘National Treasures’, featuring ‘The Three Kings’: Red Rum, Arkle, and Desert Orchid. Private collection, oil painting auctioned in aid of a cancer hospice charity.
The Vindolanda Murals - A collection of 12 works, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland National Park.
The Hermitage - Day & Night, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
'The Hermitage, Day’
'The Hermitage, Night’
What Castle Arts projects have you been working on recently?
I’ve been working on our new Amazing Butterflies coloring book and developing a range of five Castle Arts sketchpads for various applications: acrylic, mixed media, watercolor, heavy drawing, and black (watch this space!).
Can you tell us a bit about your role in product development and testing at Castle Arts, and how your experience as an artist has impacted this?
My classical training influences my approach to product development and testing, allowing me to bring a unique perspective and ensure that our products not only meet technical specifications but also resonate with the artistic community.
I’m able to bring a creative flair into the design process and anticipate artists’ needs, with my understanding of color theory, composition, and the tactile expectations of art materials informing every decision I make in the development process.
My role involves everything from ideation to collaborating on design concepts, rigorous testing, and liaising with our manufacturing partners’ research and development team. In summary, it's a blend of creativity, technical expertise, and a commitment to providing artists with tools that will elevate their craft and facilitate their creative ambitions.
What is your favorite Castle Arts product and why?
The 100 Piece Drawing Set. It has everything I need in one place for all my sketching, drawing, and illustrative needs, and also for planning and preparing my larger works.
‘Woman on Beach’
Why does art matter?
Art is essential for so many reasons touching on various aspects of the human experience. It promotes culture, shapes our society, and brings communities together. Beyond aesthetic appreciation, art also stimulates creativity, helps us communicate beyond words, and can be a positive force in mindfulness, healing, cultural identity, and personal development.
What advice would you give to artists just starting out?
Unleash your imagination and don’t hold back. Dedication, practice, building meaningful relationships, communities, continual learning, and understanding how to market your work are all key. It’s also important to keep up to date with new product innovations and developments.
Want to learn insider art tips from Peter and our team of professional artists? Check out our free video tutorials covering core artistic skills, from composition and control to specific medium mastery.