Aviation was my first artistic love, says
William S. Phillips, but my true, enduring love remains
my Christian faith, home and family. So it is my pleasure to
combine all of it in my work. The historical aviation subjects,
I research; the contemporary and nostalgic subjects, I live.
Phillips grew up loving art but never thought he could make
it his livelihood. At college he majored in criminology, and
he had been accepted into law school when four of his paintings
were sold at an airport restaurant. That was all the incentive
he needed to begin his work as a fine art painter.
Bill Phillips is now the aviation artist of choice for many
American heroes and the nostalgic landscape artist of choice
for many collectors. Bills strengths as a landscape
painter are what gave him an edge in the aviation field: respect
and reverence for a time and place. When one sees his aviation
pieces, thoughts are about the courageous individuals who
risked their lives for our freedom. In Bills nostalgic
works, the viewer understands fully what that freedom is...
the precious values that make life worth living.
After one of his paintings was presented to King Hussein
of Jordan, Phillips was commissioned by the Royal Jordanian
Air Force. He developed sixteen major paintings, many of which
now hang in the Royal Jordanian Air Force Museum in Amman.
The Smithsonian Institutions National Air and Space
Museum presented a one-man show of Phillips work in
1986; he is one of only a few artists to have been so honored.
In 1988, Phillips was chosen to be a U.S. Navy combat artist.
For his outstanding work, the artist was awarded the Navys
Meritorious Public Service Award and the Air Force Sergeants
Associations Americanism Medal. In 1991, three of Phillips
works were chosen as part of the top 100 in Art for
the Parks, the prestigious annual fund-raiser for the
National Park Service, and one painting received the Art
History Award from the National Park Foundation.