Philip Watkins: Biography

Philip Watkins will be exhibiting at Studio18 in October.


I was brought up in Caerphilly. My father was a railwayman, having briefly been a miner like his father, until a serious injury forced him‘above ground’. He worked six days a week and on Saturdays, he would go out with his dogs rabbiting, it was really the only time I saw him, he would get me to just stand and watch, that’s were I learned to look at things and keep quiet. My mother was a farmer’s daughterand then a tenant farmer- it was to Castle Farm, Caerphilly that I was brought from Church Village Hospital, where I had been born. CastleFarm isn’t there anymore – the fields were around the castle walls and they were flooded to reinstate the moat. My mother later became a school cook.

I studied Fine Art at Newport Art College in the 1970’s. The staffincluded Ernie Zobole, John Selway, David Hurn, Jack Crabtree and was quite a place. I actually spent my time in the sculpture department down in Bolt Street near Pill, where Mike Punt and Tom‘Diz’ Gilhespy had instituted a ’new’ course based on ideas andexperimentation. Although I took part in all this fun stuff, it was never really me, with the result that I had to have the painting external examiner, Robert Medley R.A., specially brought down from the painting school in Clarence Place to look at my degree show.

From then on it was painting

However, I’ve had to do other things as well to make a living. Iworked in animation for ten years at Siriol Animation and the DaveEdwards’ Studio – the films won a Bafta, an Emmy and other awards. When that finished I worked as a Youth Community Education Officer on a couple of Cardiff Estates. This time accentuated in me with a feel for a particular sort of thing, the places that are not obvious subjects. My work is always drawn from personalexperience, places I’ve lived or worked, or just walk past regularly.

‘Where the action isn’t’ – John Cooper Clarke.


The paintings tend to quietness and, hopefully, have a long, slow effect. They can take a long time to paint, many things have to be leftout so that only what’s essential is left. The process of paintingsuggests different things, so that, sometimes, what I thought was the emphasis moves somewhere else. They are not just ‘ideas’ that arethen carried out.

Some selected Exhibitions

Solo Exhibitions
2018 ‘Valley Lines,’ Kickplate Gallery, Abertillery.
2018 Philip Watkins, Llanover Hall, Cardiff.
2009 ’A Difference of Hours’, Coron Gallery, San Francisco.2009 ‘Another Time, Another Place’, Llanover Hall, Cardiff. 2008 ‘Missing Person’, Washington Gallery, Penarth.

Group Exhibitions

2018 National Eisteddfod, Lle Celf, Y Senedd, Cardiff Bay. (Winner‘Tony Goble Award’)

2017 ‘City Stories’, Mission Gallery, Swansea. 2016 ‘Nonarchy’, Undegun, Wrexham.

2015 ‘Welshcape’, St. Donat’s Art Centre and Kickplate Gallery,Abertillery.

2014 ‘Solve et Coagula’, Abacus Gallery, Cardiff.

2013 ‘Fantasista – the Art of the Number 10’, Cello Factory, London.2012 ‘BEEP – Through Tomorrow’s Eyes’, Elysium Artspace, Swansea. 2011 ‘Painting Wales’ New Leaf Gallery, Monmouth.

Philip Watkins, Sept. 2018

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