Bay Area Edition | May 2022



Phillips enjoys carving animals, such as this dog being hugged by a child.

Jimmy Phillips uses chainsaws at his Clear Lake home to carve wood and dead trees into works of art. This piece will become a stack of catsh topped by a heron.

Phillips used a dead bush to create “Disorganized Thoughts.”


Jimmy Phillips Clear Lake wood sculptor A fter 30 years as a salesper- son, Clear Lake resident Jimmy Phillips began his art career around 2005 while chopping down a tree in his front yard.

One of Phillips’ recent carvings is displayed in front of Helen Hall Library.

THE CARVING PROCESS Clear Lake artist Jimmy Phillips takes days to weeks to carve a tree into a large sculpture.

allowing him by 2013 to quit his job to be a full-time artist. In his Clear Lake home, he creates smaller pieces, which are then sold or displayed in Galveston’s René Wiley Gallery. “You gotta have something to sell, and you don’t sell everything you make, obviously,” Philips said, ges- turing toward the dozens of carvings displayed in his home. One of Phillips’ most recent clients is League City. League Park was home to two diseased, century-old oak trees that were cut down in March. Phillips has since carved two chunks of the trees into a child reading with a dog, which is dis- played outside Helen Hall Library, and a reghter, which is standing in Hometown Heroes Park. Phillips will carve a third piece that will also be displayed at the park. The public will decide what that

carving will be. A fourth carving of a train conductor will be displayed at League Park, Phillips said. Such large carvings allow Phillips to make a living o his art. “I’m just so fortunate,” he said. “The planet is awash with talented people, and it’s hard to make a living.” While some artists do not like the idea of spectators watching them work, Phillips said he thrives on it. He called the admiration of strangers his “mojo.” “It’s important that there are people who are out there that can aord to buy things that have no use because that’s where all the beauty comes from in the world,” he said. “It’s where all the smiles come from.” When asked what his favorite

Phillips draws several ideas for the carving.

As he cut away the wood with his chainsaw, Phillips, who had always imagined himself as an artist since learning to draw from his mother, carved out a sculpture. From there, Phillips began making simple carvings that he displayed in a Galveston art gallery. Some of them even sold, he said. Hurricane Ike destroyed the gallery in 2008, but the storm brought a new opportunity: Commissioned by the city of Galveston, Phillips began carving art out of some of the trees that were knocked down in the hurricane, he said. Phillips’ art took o with opportu- nities to carve trees across the state,


Phillips makes a small 3D model out of clay of what he wants the carving to be. Phillips spray paints ideas from his drawing and model onto the wood he will carve. Phillips uses chainsaws to carve away the wood until only his vision remains.




Inshore Sculpture

carving is, Phillips smiled. “The next one,” he said.



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