Phillip Hua

United States 1979

Digital Art, Painting

Phillip Hua
Phillip Hua
United States
March 10, 2016
Art somehow explains a lot that's happening in the world right now. Feel free to contact me at

Everything ages. Everything degrades with the passage of time, and where others see only degradation, Phillip Hua sees endless possibilities and finds the place for his art. Rather than working with pigments that will last for hundreds of years, the artist seeks the meaning in decay and ephemerality. His artwork addresses growing environmental concern through non-traditional painting. Hua is a visual artist who relies on technology and digital processes in order to project what is on his mind. He uses newspapers, construction paper, tape and other everyday materials, but it’s the exposure to the light and the passage of time that ultimately shape the artworks and deliver the final message.

The artist uses newspapers and construction paper, but also light and time

Phillip Hua - Future Liabilities - Lakshmi
Phillip Hua – Future Liabilities / Lakshmi

A Painter Who Uses Digital Media

The artist considers himself a painter. Even though a lot of his work involves digital media, he still approaches the whole concept with the painter’s eye. Incorporating the organic and random quality of watercolor and the precision of digital printing, his works strike a balance between the perfect and imperfect, the man and the machine.

Has nature been thought of as a commodity in contemporary life? Hua is trying to understand the whole situation. His trees, flowers, and animals are reminiscent of Chinese brush painting but are actually digitally composed. Then they are painted and printed onto the separate sheets of various newspapers, often financial ones, and then these pieces are coated in packaging tape and assembled together, forming one painting. Hua’s work examines the relationship between the environment and the economy by using those everyday materials. Finished pieces are like slow-motion performances on paper that slowly change as a result of the exposure to the light and time, giving the viewers a gradual, almost cinema-like experience. The point of the whole process is to emphasize the connection between humans and nature and to deliver a warning that even though we’re dependent on the environment, we are severely damaging it.

The artworks are reminiscent of Chinese Brush Painting

Phillip Hua - Ascending Patterns
Phillip Hua – Ascending Patterns

The Connection Between the Digital World and Nature

Phillip is an American with Vietnamese origins but doesn’t think that his cultural background played a big role in his forming as an artist. He was born and grew up in San Jose, California, where he enjoyed the surrounding fields and creeks before they were transformed into Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the tech industry. So he adopted the technology and it became part of his practice where the connection between the digital world and nature is explored.

In 2014 he was selected by Kenneth Baker to be one of the five artists to exhibit at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and in the same year, he was shortlisted for the Young Master Art Prize. His work has been reviewed by several influential papers, and Hua has exhibited throughout the North America, but also in Europe and Asia. He is currently working at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he teaches digital media.

Technology became part of his art as a reflection of growing up in Silicon Valley

Phillip Hua - Arbous 6 - Prunus and Nandina
Phillip Hua – Arbous 6 / Prunus and Nandina

Nature Inspired Artworks Are His Most Popular Pieces

In the recent years, Phillip has explored portraiture, creating two series of work titled Past/Future Tense where he digitally manipulates images of children into a grid-like tapestry to explore the fluidity of time, and We Are San Francisco, where the people living in the city are presented through their connections to each other. And yet, his most popular and important work remains nature-inspired, as it’s unique and recognizable, but also carries a powerful message about the fragility of nature.

He is represented by The Cat Street Gallery in Hong Kong and Artered Gallery in New York.

Phillip Hua lives and works in San Francisco.

Featured image: Phillip Hua – portrait

All images courtesy Phillip Hua

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Gross Domestic ProductE-Moderne Gallerie, Philadelphia, PASolo
2015Affordable Art FairHamburg, Germany, Artered GalleryGroup
2015EndangeredEuphrat Museum of Art, DeAnza College, Cupertino, CAGroup
2015Bearing Witness in the Drone Age: Surveillance and Snowden?s NSA LeaksDurden & Ray, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2015Affordable Art FairSeoul, South Korea, Artered GalleryGroup
2015Memory SketchesGray Loft Gallery, Oakland, CA Group
2015Signal 8The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong Group
2015Affordable Art FairHampstead, London, Cynthia Corbett GalleryGroup
2015Affordable Art FairHong Kong, Artered Gallery Group
2015Bearing Witness in the Drone AgeSan Francisco International Arts Festival, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CAGroup
2015SelectionsSOMArts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2015Living With Endangered LanguagesRoot Division, San Francisco, CAGroup
2014Affordable Art FairSingapore, Artered Gallery Group
2014Ebb / Flow: The Annual 2015Pro Arts, Oakland, CAGroup
20142014 Juried Art ShowPiedmont Center for the Arts, Piedmont, CAGroup
2014Young Masters 2014Sphinx Fine Art, London, UK Group
2014With A VengeanceWonderland SF, San Francisco, CAGroup
2014Young Masters 2014The Lloyds Club, London, UK Group
2014LaunchE-Moderne Gallerie, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2014Flora and FormGray Loft Gallery, Oakland, CA Group
2014Emerging Artists of the Bay AreaMarin Museum of Contemporary Art, Marin, CAGroup
2014Affordable Art FairBrussels, Artered GalleryGroup
2013Affordable Art FairSingapore, Artered GalleryGroup
2013Cut + PasteHang Art Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2013Phillip Hua, Kate Nartker, Zachary Royer ScholzCCSC Art Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012LA Art ShowLos Angeles, CA, Hang Art GalleryGroup
2012Summer National Juried ExhibitionMarin Museum of Contemporary ArtGroup
2011PersistArt In Storefronts, City Center, Storefront #169, Oakland, CASolo
2011Entwined ExcessHang Art Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2011DecayArc Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2011ArtPadSF Art FairSan Francisco, CA, Hang Art GalleryGroup
2011The End Is the Beginning Is the EndGoogle, Inc. Mountain View, CA Group
2010Memory UpgradeCenter on Contemporary Art, Seattle WAGroup
2010Red Dot Art FairMiami, FL, Hang Art GalleryGroup
2010GreenBerkeley Art Center, Berkeley CAGroup
20102010 Bay Area AnnualSanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CAGroup
2010Affordable Art FairNew York, NY, Hang Art Gallery Group
2010Artopia: Finalists from the SFWeekly Masterminds GrantProject One Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2010American Pastiche: Choose Your Own AdventureHang Art Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Futures MarketGoogle, Inc. Mountain View, CASolo
2009Consider ItArt In Storefronts, 984 Market St, San Francisco, CASolo
2009(S)Edition: Prints as ActivismUrban Institute of Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MIGroup
2009ReVisions: New Creations from scrapSF Environment EcoCenter, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009On The Cutting EdgeCoos Art Museum, Coos Bay, ORGroup
2009Scope Art FairMiami, FL , Micaela GalleryGroup
2009COLD + HOTMicaela Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Top 40California Museum of Photography, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009AAF Contemporary Art FairNew York, NY (Hang Art Gallery)Group
2009Top 40Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009EPICSOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Time LapseHang Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2009Beyond BoundariesSeedcorn Gallery, The Greenlining Institute, Berkeley, CAGroup
2009FaceChico State University Art Gallery, Chico, CAGroup
2008APAtureKearny Street Workshop, San Francisco, CAGroup
2008Give and TakeHang Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2008ACEDiego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007I.O.U.Mission 17, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007On the 13th Day... ART!Reaves Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007ON/OFF: Art In the Digital EraCabrillo Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA Group
2007New FacesHang Art Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007Salon D'eteMicaela Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007XanhTurkshop, San Franciso, CAGroup
2007Get Out Of Jail FreeSan Francisco LGBT Center, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006All The King's MenPerformance, Union Square, San Francisco, CASolo
2006APAtureKearny Street Workshop, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006Colors of LifeBelcher Studios Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2006XanhArts FestivalTurkshop, San Francisco, CAGroup
20069th Annual International ExhibitionCornell Museum of Art and History, Delray, FL Group
2006Urban AbstractBackstage Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2005Ut Pictura PoesisCesar Chavez Art Gallery, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA Group
2005EmergeBelcher Studios Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2005Paper! Awesome!Pigman Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2005State of AbstractionBelcher Studios Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
200528th Annual Juried Art ShowVacaville Art League, Vacaville, CA Group
2005The Art of DreamingThe Canvas Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
20058th Annual International ExhibitionArtist's Gallery of Seattle, Seattle WA Group
200410th National Fine Arts ExhibitionMemphis/Germantown Art League, Germantown, TNGroup
200441st Annual Regional ShowCenter for Creative Arts, Fairfield, CAGroup
2003Bold Expressions, 48th Annual Open International ExhibitionSacramento Fine Arts Center, Carmicheal, CA Group
2003APAtureKearny Street Workshop, San Francisco, CAGroup