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  • Artist's Statement
  • Resume
  • Biography

Since an early age my life has centered around art and the drive to create it. I believe the aesthetic experience occurs in a personal moment when the viewer sees art. I create images for that moment. Oil Paint and Watercolor had always been my choice of media to reflect the outer world, however now fast computing capabilities provide the tools to render my vibrant inner world.

Today, my 'tradigital' work is abstract surreal, employing traditional mixed media implemented with the benefit of digital technology. I enjoy a freestyle approach to the use of media; I orchestrate the visual components using a variety of techniques. By scanning painted and drawn media into pixels, I manipulate and integrate the imagery with digital painting, drawing and 3-D sculpting. I work heart and mind devoted to the final abstract surreal image.

I've heard it said the artist has a responsibility to be a mirror for the society in which he lives. The hectic and chaotic, even manic, nature of modern life can be perceived as overwhelming. The artwork I create presents an arrangement of colorful elements that express emotions and aspirations that are given form by this chaos. Those elements are vaguely flitting representational shapes and symbols from that place between the dream state and psychosis.

- Phillip Timper

Current Residence: Prescott, Arizona

Born: 1954, St. Louis, Missouri

Timper studied Fine Arts at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and received a bachelor's degree in Fine Art in 1981.

Recent Exhibitions

  • 2012 - January Macworld Digital Art Exibition, San Francisco, CA
  • 2010 - Sept-Oct - PFAA "Celebrating Prescott Style Prescott, AZ
  • 2010 - Jan-Feb - One man show at the Raven CafĂ© Prescott, AZ
  • 2010 - Exhibiting artist at the Tis Gallery Prescott, AZ
  • 2010 - SunDust Gallery "Celebration", juried show Mesa, AZ
  • 2010 - 2011 - MacWorld Expo, exhibiting artist
  • 2006 - 2007 - Exhibiting member, Jerome Artist's Coop Jerome, Arizona
  • 2005 - MacWorld 2005 Digital Art Show Nationwide Tour, USA
  • 2004 - Solo Show,"Doesn't Match my Couch", Avalon Gallery,San Diego, CA
  • 2003 - Group Show, Joseph David Gallery, San Diego, CA
  • 2003 - California Digital Art competition, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA
  • 2003 - Group Show, Art Institute of California, San Diego, CA
  • 2003 - MacWorld 2003 Digital Art Show, Nationwide Tour, USA
  • 2003 - Siggraph 2003 Digital Art Show, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA
  • 2002 - MacWorld 2002 Digital Art Show Nationwide Tour, USA


  • 2010 - "Boogie Woogie & The Hawaiian War Chant" 3rd place Artist of Distinction Award, SunDust Gallery "Celebration" juried competition,Mesa, AZ
  • 2008: "Son of Bedsheet Dismay", Finalist in San Diego Photoshop Users Group competition
  • 2006: "Atlantus or Them", Awarded placement in "Its Art Online Magazine" Contest
  • 2006: "Oceanside Pier", Awarded placement in Ballistic's "Painter Annual"
  • 2005: "Ketchakoma's Delight", Finalist, MacWorld 2005 Expo Digital Art Contest
  • 2003: "Bagpipe Innuendo", Finalist, MacWorld 2003 Expo Digital Art Contest
  • 2002: "Sigmund Frued's Guppy Nocturne", First Place Illustration, Seybold International 2002
  • 2002: "Frog Latitudes",Finalist, MacWorld 2002 Expo Digital Art Contest

Stepping into Phillip Timper's world, one glimpses pure, unfettered imagination. Color, texture, shape and image evoke excitement, humor, irony, and often a delighted exclamation of "Wow!"

Currently a resident of the high mountain desert town of Prescott, Arizona, Phil is working on the cutting edge of a digital technique that blends traditional media with the tools of computing to create mind-blowing images that are surreal and challenging - yet oddly familiar to anyone who looks deeply at the work. After scanning his original watercolors and drawings and digitizing the paint, he then further pushes the envelope by adding elements created on the computer using a variety of software and the technical mastery Phil has developed over many years of work.

An avid hiker and camper, Phil draws much inspiration by examining the contrast between today's cultural tsunami with nature and her myriad colors, textures and her own beautiful chaos. In the late 1970s, he took a life-changing journey into the Grand Canyon for an extended backpacking trip. The nature of this extreme and beautifully harmonious landscape continues to inspire and inform his art today, and led to his taking up permanent residence in the midst of the American Southwest. "I guess the landscape still is a big part of me."

Born in 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri, Phil first discovered his love of art after completing a paint-by-numbers kit at age 9. When his mother was unable to furnish another kit, Phil took things into his own hands, building a panel, drawing and painting his own still life of a violin, metronome and sheet music. After placing this piece in a local store on the main street of O'Fallon, Illinois, Phil was contacted by June Kelly, a landscape-painting teacher who was so impressed by his raw talent, she offered him classes free of charge. June's classical landscape approach to color theory and composition laid a foundation that Phil's work still reflects today.

Throughout Phil's childhood, art was his refuge from a sometimes challenging, chaotic home life. Growing up around mental illness became a constant reminder of the fragility of sanity and a concrete demonstration that for each person there is a unique and sometimes heartbreaking reality shaped by their perceptions, real or imagined.

At the end of junior high school, June declared to Phil that she had taught him all she could. Having laid a solid foundation in classical technique, Phil began to explore his own imagination, finding a sense of self-efficacy and confidence that shines through every inch of his work. Barriers to self-expression began to fall away, allowing his inner reality to be expressed and develop in all its flowing, chaotic grace.

In high school and college, Phil also displayed a flair for caricatures with an ability to nail his subjects' essence. He spent a fair amount of time doing what might be called a kind of performance art, which often took place in bars, conventions and parties. "It was a sit down stand-up routine," states Timper. While capturing his subjects on tone paper with charcoal, Phil maintained a constant patter of repartee, evoking laughter, and no doubt groans thanks to his punnier side. Depicting both young and old with the goal of capturing their most distinguishing attributes was not an activity for the faint of heart. Nor was it one for the vain among us. True to his very big heart, Phil learned a great deal about the importance of delicacy when showing people how he saw them. Though known in his youth as 'The Poison Pen', Phil matured into an artist sensitive to his subjects' own self image. He learned a valuable lesson about human nature, eventually saying, "Depending on who sat down, I had to know when to pull some punches." Phil's favorite subjects were the crusty old guys. "They were fun to draw and you could take more liberties with their features. They could laugh a little louder at themselves."

Phil's formal training took place at the University of Illinois, Edwardsville, where he spent his time drawing and painting. Today he reluctantly admits that academics were a secondary consideration for him at the beginning of his college years. Although academics did become an important part of his education, his immersion into art still found him at the fine art campus far more often than at the main campus. "College taught me I could develop my creativity. Creativity is a skill like dancing or riding a bike, one can learn to be more creative. Think of it as a muscle in your head, it just needs exercise...".

After college, an opportunity to work in the same studio as his father, also an artist at what was then AT&T, exposed Phil to traditional commercial graphics and design. Stepping into the very different world of corporate promotions was made easy with the help of his father and a dozen other artists happy to mentor a quick study. Phil's natural drawing styles became welcome skills in the group's mix. The commercial art principles and "board skills" he acquired there enhanced his already considerable abilities which provided a productive career. Ten years later, while still working in commercial illustration and graphics, Phil began using a Macintosh computer. This was at the same time the Mac was transforming the graphic industry, and this is, as they say, where the story really became interesting.

Having discovered surrealism in high school and naturally tempted with the potential imaging software represented, Phil knew there was magic to be made in the marriage of traditional and technical. Computer integration offered an opportunity to meld his traditional classical skills with ideas that demanded a medium that could reproduce images, textures, shapes and color of another world. Opportunity met capability and powered by his spirit, the art blossomed.

Phil describes this process as "Today's chaotic culture, processed through my psycho-blender and poured out in pixels."

We live in the midst of a modern world that has seen information and sensory stimulation reach a calamitous cacophony previously unknown. Phil sees culture, particularly American, as an absurd blizzard of over-stimulation, and maintains that it blinds us. "The world swirls around us, so much input numbs us from seeing what is reality happening around us. Numb and anesthetized is a fundamentally flawed way to live." The surreal world Phil illuminates with pixels mirrors that chaos. It is his belief that we all have an ability to see how un-naturally preoccupied our daily life really is, but that many are so conditioned and overwhelmed by the barrage of modern culture that the chaos passes for normal.

Phillip's view is that this life is essentially incomprehensible, and any personal belief in understanding or 'reality' is an illusion. He illustrates this with miming that same manic energy, making meaning of the sensory overload of our perceived realities by pointing out the utter folly of thinking, perception is reality.

While scoffing at these alleged perceived realities, he realizes humor is essential to connect our individual realities. So a touch of subtle - or not so subtle - humor hides in the work and is alluded to in some titles, which include; "Wickiedac De Dac and the Prancing Pajamas", "Boogie Woogie and the Hawaiian War Chant", "Gladango Doiknoid" and "Return of the Son of Bed Sheet Dismay".

Basing his work in traditional theory gives Phil's work an aesthetic that invites a rapport with his audience, while allowing the technology he has mastered to set his imagination free. While exploring this "tra-digital" work in California in the 90s, Phil curated and directed the first Digital Art Expo symposium as a part of the Oceanside Cultural Art Foundation's annual Days of Art event. This was an early opportunity to review the state of digital art and to provide a forum to discuss the perceptions and applications of this new media. He arranged for well-known technical speakers to demonstrate methods and software that helped inform a public of what was coming up next in the art world.

Those whose experiences lead them to believe digital art is "generated" by a computer, not by a human, are challenged to consider the computer as just another tool in the artist's quiver, or as Phil likes to say, "just a paintbrush on Electro-Luminescent Steroids!" But whatever the assigned definition for his art might be, seeing it is ultimately believing in visual thrill-rides.