We had the good fortune of connecting with Jimmy Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jimmy, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Whatever measure of success I have found is in most part due to lessons learned in my prior life as a salesman. There are countless talented artists that have no sales skills, even a certain disdain for selling in general. I am shameless in my self promotion, and seek out all opportunities ,such as this shoutout, to tell my little story, show off my work, and meet as many people as possible.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
While I enjoyed art through high school, I did not make any art for the next 30 years. I began carving wood 15 years ago by doodling with a chainsaw on a log, and became obsessed with making something every day. At first I sold a few pieces at a Gallery in galveston, and any local art shows I could get into. It was clear to me that I could not support my family as a studio whittler, but I continued making stuff, and enjoyied the art scene. In 2008 Hurricane Ike destroyed the gallery I was in. I was in galveston the following year searching for gallery space and found The René Wiley Gallery. That same day i was contacted by a woman determined to salvage the old oak trees killed by Ikes storm surge. The Galveston Tree Sculpture Tour was born. The resulting press exposure brought many opportunities to carve. In 2012 I quit my fulltime job to make art full time. There are still occasional sleepless nights wondering if anyone will want anything next month. Whenever I feel concerned, I double down and make more stuff.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Afraid you picked the wrong guy as a tour guide. I make sawdust every day.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Donna Liebbert René Wiley Gallery
Facebook: James Phillips
Shelley Lambert Nancy Phillips James Phillips