I’ve been making art ever since I was able to pick up a pencil. The reasons for doing so were never quite clear — it was always just something that happened. Ultimately, I don’t think there is an absolute reason for why I make art. It seems that any reason I could dig up from my psychological background would only be from my own bias and predicated on some other preceding reason itself, and so on and so on. Additionally, whenever I’m making art I suppose one could say I lose myself in it, or at least my idea of myself disappears. It’s as if the body named Ross Phillips is nothing more than a catalyst for the art to create itself. It doesn’t seem as though I am a subject imposing my will upon the canvas — it’s just what’s apparently happening, and it’s innately mysterious. This very nature of ‘happening of itself’ seems to be the energy, or the spirit behind the art.
Since I was around the age of five years old, I’ve had a passion towards understanding the nature of reality. I would ask adults questions that came to mind about the origins of the universe and what the essence of the universe really even was and they were met with either no answers, or answers that simply didn’t suffice. It seemed like a big deal to me to find the truth of it all, and so my upbringing was comprised of a wavering exploration through multiple philosophies and religions. In my adolescence I stumbled upon Zen, and while I didn’t quite understand it, there was something that resonated there. Through the seeking of that I was led to spend a lot of my time in nature, putting to the side all concepts I had adopted from other humans. What becomes more obvious when one is in nature ignoring learned concepts, is that there is a wholeness to everything. This can be recognized in cities as well, but it’s much harder to see due to the fact that man-made objects are constructed in ‘parts’. The irony is that the separation humans often use to try to explain reality is itself only a superimposition on the wholeness of reality.
For years I struggled with finding a direction for my art. I wanted it to say something timeless, yet only had the most vague ideas that I couldn’t translate. Upon reaching my late twenties it became obvious to blend my seeking and seeing of the truth into visual art. What can’t fully be expressed in words can hopefully arise within the viewer a shift of perception. It seems reasonable to say that the purpose for my art could be to reflect a sought fulfillment that already is. It could be said that this gift is to take what has been recognized about the world we find ourselves in, and use it to ignite a spark of curiosity behind all eyes peering into it.