Salt Lake City-based artist Stacy Phillips shifts effortlessly between sculpture and painting. In part, this is because her studios for each discipline lie under one roof. In part, it is because she has mastered the ability to adapt as the result of moving 49 times in her life. (Her family relocated frequently while her father worked for Campbell Soup Company.)
A change-filled life also helps explain the wide range of Stacy’s artistic toolbox: She works in sculpture, ceramics, painting (on canvas, wood, and ceramics), and jewelry; teaches acrylic painting/collage and monoprinting; and actually enjoys “the business part” of being a career artist.
“I majored in fine arts [at Keene State College in New Hampshire] and minored in business and graphic design,” Stacy says. “My father, being in the corporate world, said I should have something to fall back on. In the long run, it suited me, because I can dance between left and right brain.”
Among Stacy’s sculptures are torsos — some bronze and some painted ceramic — with beaded skirts of monochromatic crystal and pearl or multicolored beads. She takes the bead concept to an oversize scale in her series of painted wood disks (with center holes), 16 to 18 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 inches thick, cradled in a metal stand).
Also in ceramics, she creates brightly colored, abstract sculptures on wood bases. For walls, she makes flowers (some painted and some fired with gold luster) that can be mounted randomly or in one’s chosen pattern.
Stacy credits her grandmother, a full-time artist, as an early influence.
“Then in high school, I had an art teacher who encouraged me,” she says. “I didn’t know what it meant to be a professional artist; I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree and working a couple of years for an ad agency in Nebraska, Stacy moved to Park City, Utah, where she bought a frame shop and converted it into a gallery, exhibiting the work of other artists. After years of that, she yearned to get back to “the creating side” of art, she says. “I wanted to explore more in different materials.”
With that goal in mind, Stacy pursued graduate work at the University of Miami from 1999 to 2000 before determining that she possessed what was needed to make a living as an artist.
“[College] was too academic for me in my late 30s, so I took a sabbatical and went to Mexico,” she says. “I had a friend who had a studio with a connected apartment. I rented the apartment and just made art.”
After three months in Puerto Vallarta, she returned to Park City and put together a body of work for the Sun Valley Arts Festival. At that time, Connie and David Katz owned a CODA Gallery in Park City, as well as in Palm Desert, California, and New York City, New York.
“CODA was the gallery I wanted to be represented in, so I invited Connie to come see my work,” Stacy says. “She came and bought my whole show.”
Now residing in Salt Lake City, where she rents space in an arts complex encompassing studios for some 50 artists, Stacy maintains three rooms: one for sculpture, one for painting, and one that serves as her office for paperwork and art supplies. In addition to working on her own art, she teaches painting and monoprinting and gives lectures and demonstrations throughout the state as the Working Artist of Utah for Golden Paints.
Stacy does not sketch but lets herself “respond to the work” as she goes.
“The inspiration is the mystery of it,” she says. “You can only do so much in your brain. I love the discovery, the idea of ‘what if.’ The dance between intuition and intention motivates me to be in the studio every day.”
There are infinite possibilities and challenges in creating work when you think of the materials and concepts that are available to the open mind. I am fascinated and addicted to the process of making art. To be submersed from the beginning of an idea through the course of execution is the state of the creative process that I wish to reside. My intent is to absorb as much about this process as I can both technically and conceptually in my life time. To challenge myself throughout the journey of creating art and to maintain the passion of the desire.
2000 - Park City Arts Festival, Park City, Utah
Art 2000, Lowe Art Museum, Miami, Florida
Jose Bernardo Award in Ceramics
1998 - Contemporary Ceramic Design, Lark Books, Cover Selection
Dorothy Bearnson Alumni Exhibit, University of Utah
Student Exhibition, NCECA Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada
1996 - Painting and Sculpture Show, Cover Selection, Springville, Utah