The folks at designboom recently caught up with the legendary Jim Phillips for a quick chat about influence, craft and how practice makes perfect. Since he started working for Santa Cruz in 1975, Phillips has practically defined skate and surf art through his gnarly graphic style, monstrous motifs and tonal energy. This is a great piece of insight into the life and practice of the San Jose-based artist. Check out an extract below and read the complete feature over here.
Which project or period of your career have you enjoyed the most so far?
My greatest joy was to have my own studio with a gaggle of studio artists under my training, as I had with Phillips Studios in the late 80s where we cranked out skateboard art for Santa Cruz skateboards. As a youth, the artists at Walt Disney studios such as Carl Barks and the famous ‘nine old men’ were some of my earliest inspirations and I loved to look at those old photos of Walt standing with his artists in front of his studios, imagining who was who and what must have transpired within those walls.
What criteria do you judge your artwork by?
I had the great and humbling artists such as Disney had and the masters of comic books from the golden age to live up to. It is a tall order and it shows that if you aim high and fall short you can still be something. The criteria that I was saddled with as a commercial artist was to first please myself, please the outside world and do it in the shortest amount of time for a limited amount of compensation. It is indeed a very tall order.