Phillip Levine is Sculptor/draughtsman located in Burien, Washington. He is currently the President of the Puget Sound Group Northwest Artists. He works mostly in bronze. Figurative sculpture is primarily humanist in nature. Themes in his body of work spanning over a 50 year career include, literary, dance, myth, sport, social concerns and has also exhibited sculpture, painting, crafts and drawing throughout the country. He has served on boards of King County Arts Commission, Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters, Artists Equity, Washington Chapter, Northwest Sculptor’s Association. In the past, he has taught at University of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University, and Skagit Valley Community College. In 1997 he Received Governor’s Award for Cultural Contribution to the Arts. Education; University of Colorado, MFA Sculpture University of Washington. New School for Social Research, NY, NY. Created over 50 public and private commissions.
The main thrust of his work has been to explore what the image of the human figure can represent. Either by a single figure of the relationships between figures, and between figures and structures, have all been used to express men and women's relationships to the world.
How and when did you first become interested in sculpture and drawing?
My first two years at the University of Colorado were on track toward a career in medicine. Unhappy with that I took a variety of classes which included one in three- dimensional design. The following two years I took almost exclusively art courses along with philosophy and literature. However, the next five years, in New York, were devoted to painting until I began making sculpture. Realizing that I needed to have further instruction I returned to school for a master’s degree. As I had been drawing all during that time that helped me to become a teaching assistant at the University in teaching drawing.
Who or what has been your greatest source of inspiration?
My father may have been my greatest source by his support of wanting me to do the best I could at what I wanted to do. For personal inspiration I have had several art teachers, who, by their passion for art, showed me that passion in what you have for a strong base for doing anything. Artists that I have admired were Giacomo Manzu and Edgar Degas, both for sculptors who worked with the figure during a long period when figurative sculpture was not fashionable. Rico Lebrun for both drawing and sculpture.
What are your favorite museums?
The Oakland Museum, the Hirshhorn in Washington DC, The Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek, Denmark, Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum, both in Amsterdam.
If I could own any work of art, which would it be?
One of my favorite pieces is a bronze model for the larger Balzac sculpture by Rodin. Other than that any Manzu.
Any tips for aspiring artists?
Realize that you are part of the enormous continuum of creating art.
What prompted you to join PSG?
I was asked to join in the early 60’s as I knew a number of the members at that time. I was raising children and struggling for a living and didn’t have time. When asked again in 2000 I was delighted to belong to a group of artists who I had known, liked and admired for some time. As a professional artist to share your experiences both aesthetically and socially with your peers gives me great pleasure. I like also the goals relative not only to exhibitions but scholarship and education.
Any upcoming projects you would like to share?
I’m going back into working on an earlier them of man and machine or man and structure or animal. I’m in the studio most days of my life so various rhythms of activities condition what priorities of activity take place.