Philip Hazard holds a B.A. from the University of Toledo (Ohio) in Film and Design and studied screenwriting and film directing at Tisch School of the Arts (New York University, New York City). He received his M.F.A. degree from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) in 2007. A native of Toledo, Hazard lived in New York City for over 25 years, co-founding the Let There Be Neon studio and being inspired by the energized and gritty sides of a big city aesthetic. He also maintained an independent studio in Tucson, Arizona for many years. His diverse personal life experiences influence the content and subject matter of his multi-layered mixed media work, in which he combines and layers oil and acrylic paint, photographic silkscreen, mixed media collage and assemblage on canvas, with neon used as the focus and emphasis within his work.
Hazard’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Mr. Hazard’s artwork has been published in many books and magazines, including the books Tools as Art, Contemporary Neon and the Japanese magazine Pronto. His artwork is included in many public and private collections including the National Building Museum (Washington, D.C.) and the U.S. Embassy in Nepal (Katmandu).
Philip Hazard also has a background in film and theatre. He has written and directed films that have been screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Michigan) and on public television. Hazard’s The Spider Sisters, shot in New York City’s East Village, was declared Cult Hit at the 1993 Arizona International Film Festival (Tucson). His television film Loco Vida was partially funded with grants from the Tucson Pima Arts Council and The Tucson Community Cable Corporation. Two plays written by Hazard have been produced Off-Off Broadway in New York City: Take Off Your Sunglasses at the New York Theatre Ensemble and No Brakes at The American Renaissance Theatre.
Now retired from a long career in the neon sign industry in New York City as well as teaching studio art classes at The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University and Owens Community College (Perrysburg, Ohio), Hazard continues to create new mixed media and neon fine artworks in his studio.
Hazard was a much-beloved protégé of 20 North Gallery Art Director Emerita Peggy Grant in his early career as a studio assistant to Peggy and her husband, Adam Grant, through the Toledo Artists’ Club (Ohio). Upon his return to Ohio in 1996, Peggy Grant presented a solo exhibit of Hazard’s neon-mixed media collage in Painting With Light, followed in 1998 by the exhibit Neon Across America, for which he was Guest Curator. Hazard’s other principal exhibitions at 20 North Gallery include the 2010 show New Work / Old Friends, in which he was the featured artist, Phil Hazard’s Top 40 Hits: A Retrospective (2011), Tom & Friends: Celebrating McGlauchlin’s Legacy in Glass (2012), 20 North / 20 Years (2012); Luminosity (2017) and Treasures in Residence (2021), in addition to stable representation.
To learn more about Philip Hazard’s artistic career and professional history, visit his website at philhazard.com.
Trusting my intuitive instincts, the inspiration and subject matter for my paintings and prints stem from personal obsessions, idealized pop culture, urban decay and ready-made found materials. Painting, collage, mixed media, metal, assemblage, text and neon are layered on my canvas to explore the larger context of the relationship between disparate images and their dialogue.
The juxtaposition of unrelated images is intended to produce something more—the idea of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In the process of creating my prints and paintings, I play with the concept that 2 + 2 does not equal 4, but rather it equals “X,” the unknown. Or to take the idea even further, 2 + 2 equals an un-definable cipher, an abstract gesture. There is no wrong answer for the painting process because it can equal anything. Consequently, it is important to explore the difference between intent and intuitive process.
My printmaking involves solvent transfer, silkscreen, mono-prints and is filled with impulsive and spontaneous procedures. I build my prints with the same approach as creating a collage. One layer on top of another continues to inform the next step.
The use of text stems from my many years working in the neon sign industry in New York City. That is the source for my fascination of text, signage and a bold, billboard-like concept. The use of text attempts to express my own desires and feelings. Themes speak to the longing in everyone. These concepts, coupled with past memories and emotional obsessions, underlies the autobiographical nature of the work.
My curiosity about painting techniques manifests itself in gesture splatters, drips and mark-making. The result is a constantly-changing layer-upon-layer surface, that is structured and thought out, yet appears improvisational, much like a jazz composition.
Some of my painted images are representational, while other areas of the painting remain abstract and expressionistic.
The objects in my paintings are intended to become universal, timeless and iconic images. My prints and paintings attempt to evoke a response and interpretation from the viewer with regard to my various ironic, melancholy or enigmatic content. My goal is to reflect a universal narrative taken from my personal life experience and a tiny bit of the human condition.
Philip Hazard’s previous 20 North Gallery exhibits:
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