Phil Brake was born and raised in California. In the 70’s Phil studied art and piano performance at Fresno Pacific University after being recruited for the basketball program. After graduating he came to Winnipeg to marry a Canadian girl and although the plan was to stay for two weeks he’s still here. He retired in 2010 after 29 years as an art instructor and now spends much of his time creating works of art.
I think the question is not why a person does art but rather why he/she wouldn’t. I’ve been doing, making, creating for most of my life; painting, drawing, projects in stained glass, concrete, wood, stone, even restoring old cars. In the last few years I have focused mostly on painting with dye on silk.
It is an uncommon or perhaps developing artistic medium in the West but has ancient Asian roots. I feel the shimmering intensity of the colours obtained warrants the struggle to control, restrain and force the dye to do my bidding. The process involves first drawing the image onto the raw silk, stretching the silk over a frame, applying coloured resist to enclose areas and then applying, blending, mixing and thinning the dye on the silk. When dry the silk is rolled up like a big cigar between sheets of paper, hung in a large pipe over boiling water and steamed for a long period to permanently set the dye. It is then washed, ironed and stretched over a light board. The finished artwork is a unique painting and is in no way related to the “silk screen” process of print making. I work from my own images of places I have been, and things I have seen, ranging from my garden to streams in the Andes Mountains.
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