Phillips, Robert


MARIONETTE 10' - Metal Sculptures - Steel Snake Tables

Robert Phillips works to transform traditional blacksmith techniques into an innovative vocabulary and to create a personal contemporary expression. His commissions range from marionettes and steel furnture to large metal sculptures for public spaces. The Marionette 10 was made especially for TPDS CLUB by Robert Phillips and was installed in December of 2000. Phillips also collaborated with Dolores Browne and made the famous step-up dance steel snake tables, steel snake and aluminum tables and shelving, steel gates, stainless steel doors, stainless steel railings and steel mirrors for the Philadelphia Department Store.His giant metal fly sculptures on Spring Garden Street are impressive, glorious and brillant.  

EXHIBITED The Milton Hershey Museum in Hersey PA, 'Studio Visits' a traveling show, Art in Philadelphia PA City Hall, a founding member of High Wire Cooperative Gallery Philadelphia PA and European Exchange Shows. In 2012 he had a one man show of all his metal sculptures. A one man show of his metal sculpture drawings are being planned for June of 2013 in Philadelphia PA.

AWARDS Recipient of two PA Council of Art Grants for Sculpture and Puppetry.

APPRENTICESHIPS Nick Lyle of the Yellin Forge and the PA Academy of the Fine

PROJECTS The Philadelphia Airport, The Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs, FL,  The Strip Bass Restaurant, The Fish Market Restaurant, the Philadelphia Department Store, Chops City Grille Naples, FL,  GMH Corporate Headquarters and many private residences. 

THEATRE Produced the  'Catapult Marionette Theatre'

Robert  Phillips has been making our custom steel products since 2000. The 10 Foot Marionette is a master piece. We at DesignReasons wil miss him.

Bob Phillips, 50, prominent metal sculptor
September 11, 2012|BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer

IT SURE beats a pan of paella.
Although there's nothing wrong with this rice dish, often served with seafood on a large pan, Maximillian was a better choice.
Robert Phillips, a prominent local sculptor who worked in iron, convinced the owners of the Striped Bass restaurant at 15th and Walnut streets in 1994 that a fish named Maximillian would be a better choice as a decorative piece to hide the oven's hood.
And what a fish!
Bob Phillips' fish is an amazing work of art, 16 feet long, 7 feet wide, 4 feet thick and weighing about 400 pounds. It is made of mild (low-carbon) steel forged in Bob's workshop in Fishtown. It was named after the late grandfather of Bob's wife, Cheryl Levin.
The restaurant, which has since closed, also featured a centerpiece over the front door of a school of fish in a hurry, also forged in steel. Bob called it "Salmon Running Upstream to Spawn."
Robert Phillips, whose artistic and sometimes surrealistic ironwork can be found in public, private and commercial spaces throughout the Philadelphia region, New Jersey and Delaware, and as far away as Florida, died Sunday as the result of an accident in his shop. He was 50.
Bob's unique iron pieces ranged from gates and fences to furniture, jewelry, railings, fireplaces, lighting fixtures, tables, door handles and sculpture. His subjects included fish, birds, animals and even bugs and bicycle racks.
Some of his art has more than a hint of Picasso. He once said his work was "Mexican-Celtic-inspired with a big dose of Picasso."
"I light candles at the altar of Picasso," he told an Inquirer interviewer in 1994.
His artistic range was wide. In 1994, he crafted steel and copper marionettes for a Greek-inspired play he co-authored called "The Envy of the Soul." The marionettes' copper eyelids actually opened and closed.
A respected teacher, Bob held workshops at Freedom Theatre, Youthbuild Charter School, Westtown School, Merion Elementary School and elsewhere. He offered courses in sculpture, welding and forging to high-school students.
Bob was born in West Philadelphia to James and Mary Phillips. He attended West Catholic High School and took welding at Bok Technical-Vocational High School. He married Cheryl Levin in 1993. As an artist and sculptor, Bob was self-taught. He started working in wood, clay and mixed media before concentrating on metal. The advantage, he once said, is that metal "is permanent. It doesn't break."
The fish sculpture at Striped Bass was a special challenge. He was given six weeks to complete an enormous sculpture that required heavy work in his shop.
He had a weekend to hang it, no easy task, given its weight, plus another 100 pounds of seaweed. But he made it, getting it up minutes before the restaurant opened.
The Inquirer's Karen Heller wrote that Bob's furniture included pieces like a "glass-topped dining table with a base of mild steel wrapped to look like wicker" and a "steel-and-glass table that looks as if it's supported by lightning bolts."
Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Emma, and a son, Aidan.
Services: 11 a.m. Thursday at Montefiore Cemetery, 600 Church Road, Jenkintown.
Funeral Service
September 13
11 AM
Montefiore Cemetery
600 Church Road
Jenkintown PA 10946