Joel Phillips was born in Midland, Texas, and grew up drawing horses and cowboys. Later his family moved to California where he was introduced to the vaquero and his beautiful horsemanship. Today’s practitioners of this tradition, and their horse, continue to play a major role in the Phillips imagery.
Phillips attended Pepperdine University and studied under noted California painters, Joseph Piasentin and Avery Faulkner. “I am very thankful for the education I received at Pepperdine. My professors worked in a much more abstract and expressionistic vein than I did and I feel I was really challenged daily and encouraged to be responsible for every choice and decision I make as a painter.”
After graduation from Pepperdine, Phillips moved back to Texas to work on his uncle’s ranch and began to develop his own unique vision and method of visually integrating the concepts that he finds central to humanity with the heavily freighted imagery of the American West.
Phillips has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas; the Museum of Abilene, Texas; and a two-person exhibition at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum on two separate occasions. Additionally, he has had solo gallery exhibitions as well as participating in numerous major western art shows throughout the nation including such venues as the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Autry Museum of Western Heritage; the Pasadena Museum of California Art; the Pasadena Historical Museum. Phillips lives in Thousand Oaks, California with his wife and their two children.