Phillip Simpson is an eccentric artist from Sawtell. He cleans part-time, but his real passion is for painting … and he is the epitome of creativity.
Are you from Coffs Harbour?
No, I am not originally from the Coffs Coast. I lived in Gladesville as a younger bloke. I was born in Ryde Hospital. I am the youngest of five siblings.
I would describe myself as a disco funky bunny compared to my hippy brothers and sisters, and I always enjoying being funny.
One of my friends at church, Scott, has a voice that reminds me of a cartoon character I grew up with: Dudley Do Right of the Canadian Mounties, who battled the evil Dick Dastardly.
I have an 18 year old daughter, Felicity. I reckon if any Dick Dastardly came into her life, I would take them for a ride – just like affable comedian John Candy playing Uncle Buck in the movie of the same name … then talk about a tradition of having it cut off if they misbehave. I’ve have always had a wicked sense of humour.
I date online. Many women try and con me online, so I say to them: “Oh baby, since you came into my life, even the hostages in the basement seem more chilled”.
I grew up loving Star Wars and Dr Who, so there has always been a rich imagination. I played in the bush with friends Graeme Edwards, Jamie Little and Matthew Gale. I loved lizards as a young bloke.
How did your love for art come about? What has been your biggest influence?
I grew up drawing dinosaurs … Putting together model aeroplanes … I drew motor bikes and cool cars for other kids. I have always been fascinated by art rocker David Bowie. I am eccentric and extremely creative. I love Rugby, and I admit I even get bored if there is no creative open play.
I took art in high school, where I would paint these elaborate sci fi themes, which never really took off. I never felt good enough to go somewhere with my art. My art teacher seemed a strange mixture of Catholicism and New Age – she encouraged me – a lot.
I moved to Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 1981, and in 1985 I got involved in Christian Theatre Images. I played cricket and had humorous, fun times. I will always remember Mark Shultz being able to take a sharp catch, without ever losing his cigarette (laughs). Humour features in some of my art.
I was married in my mid twenties, which lasted six years but nothing exciting to report there. Ancient history, really, but I do have a lovely daughter, Felicity. She is studying Psychology. I hope she doesn’t analyse me. She might need a head full of Monty Python. I was divorced in 1996 … Briefly moved back in with my parents. During that time, I wrote poetry on the shores of the Northern Beaches. I stupidly lost my poetry book somewhere. I stayed on for a while after my parents left the Northern Beaches. I used to go to a DJ night called ‘The Sounds Of Seduction’; the club was full of fun people. Everyone would dress up – very colourful times (laughs). The resident DJ was Jamie Adenlader aka JKatz.
I have a Twitter account, where I encourage people to get on the scene. I moved to the Coffs Coast in 2001 for family reasons. After a brief stay in Bello, I moved to Sawtell. I did a bit of art training with a lady who was an artist at the Community College around the Central Mall in Coffs. Sorry … her name has gone on me. I have settled in Sawtell. Like me, it is quirky.
What does a day in the life of Phillip Simpson look like?
Apart from art painting, there is Lara, the name for my bass guitar. Always jam up a funky element with James Brown Bootsy Collins Parliament Funkadelic The Ohio plays and The Meters on spotify radio. I really must get back to exercise. I have two sisters, Maryanne and Vicki. Oh, and there is also my plan to be an evil clown and take over the world. Not even Austin Powers will stop me. I always enjoy good humour. Must not forget the one and only catch phrase: “Do you know me, Benny?” My nephew is a superstar; I take him to the cinema. I also have two cleaning jobs.
Where does your passion for art and creativity derive?
Art resigned in me after the loss of a relationship. First, the art therapy dance with thick brushes, then finer detail followed one day when I decided it was time to get down, get funk and move on. I understand art like an art machine.
Have you exhibited?
I have exhibited with CHESS Employment. I enjoy the support from Rachel, my mentor and friend. We enjoy having a laugh together. I am always cheeky. The other day, I strode into Coffs Harbour quite manicly, then Rachael said: “I know you … gosh, you’re a character! You did that deliberately”. One of the exhibited pieces was a home for Bogans.
Doing this interview is a real challenge, but made me realise I don’t often enough appreciate the good stuff in my life; thank you, Jesus. Would love to develop my art further and get it exhibited. I think my dream job would to be a full-time artist, and I am committed to being a good, wise Solomon Christian.
Got to say the support of family and friends on Facebook has been heartwarming!
Thank you Phillip.
This article can be found in issue 31 of Coffs Coast Focus