Assistant publisher Becky Holtzman shares her impressions on the book: Read Becky's Review
|"His Arts and Crafts style is sure to please."—Donna O., PrairieMod
Walter J. Phillips (Canadian, b. England, 1884–1963) was already a critically acclaimed watercolorist by the time he immigrated to Winnipeg, Canada, in 1913. Once in Canada, he took up engraving but found that he disliked “the cold unresponsive nature of metal . . . and the dirtiness of printing inks.” So he moved on to woodblock printing, the medium for which he would gain worldwide recognition. Phillips’s success as a printmaker was due to his extraordinary perspective, uncompromising design, masterful craftsmanship, and use of dramatic silhouettes and luminous color. Additionally, he loved the medium, writing, “no black is so rich and ‘fat’ as the black in a wood-cut, and no white is so pure. For graphic boldness, directness and simplicity the wood-cut is supreme.”
During Phillips’s fifty-year career, his artwork was exhibited throughout North America and Britain; he also was a prolific book illustrator and taught art at the Banff Centre and the Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary.
In this monograph, Phillips’s place in the forefront of the Arts and Crafts movement in North America is explored in detail by noted period scholar Nancy E. Green, while essays by two of the artist’s family members provide unique perspectives on Phillips’s life and work. In addition, quotes by the artist concerning his work accompany many of the reproductions.