Phil Frost is a New York based artist who creates work that combines the raw, gritty edge of the street with an elegant, painterly aesthetic. Frost first became known in the early 1990s for his involved installations on the streets of New York. Locations were scouted, measured and analyzed for feasibility before he painstakingly created the artwork in his studio. Works, usually composed of numerous panels were then affixed to his targets under cover of darkness. In 1994, these street works inspired a PBS episode of City Arts featuring the artist. His transition to the gallery world was inevitable and after a string of strong showings in group exhibitions, he mounted his first solo exhibition at the Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, in 1999.
His found object constructions and works on canvas are a multi-layered combination of colorful, almost comic-strip portraits and intricate typography overlaid with bold graphic symbols rendered, more often than not, in correction fluid. Words and slogans that are a hybrid of numerous languages, both real and imagined, are layered within the works to create compositions that are spiritual in nature, transmitting inner quickening as mantra or gestural prayer.
Phil Frost produces mixed-media paintings, works on paper, and installations of found objects—including baseball bats and barn doors—that pulse with energy. His aesthetic is as mixed as the materials with which he works and reflects his keen sense of design. In a series of recent works, Frost layers lacey, white, abstract patterns over intricate backgrounds that feature images of African mask-like faces, scribbled words, and passages of vibrant color. A pantheist, he expresses his spirituality through heart-like shapes that recur in his works.
His artwork has been featured on album covers for popular recording artists such as DJ Shadow and Sick Of It All. In recent years, Frost has continued to show his work in numerous exhibitions, including a second showing at Jack Shainman in New York (2001) and his first American museum exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia (2002).
Phil Frost lives and works in New York, US.