Phil was born in Vancouver in 1957. He grew up beside the UBC Endowment Lands with the forest on one side and the city on the other. He moved to Nelson, B.C. in 1988 where he lives and works now blocks from downtown and the woods. With no formal training as an artist, he started to carve wood while working as a logger, house painter and various other professions. In 1992 he met Pat West, a soapstone sculptor, whom he calls his mentor and he began working with stone. His sculptures are done entirely with hand tools, only using power tools when constructing the bases.
He calls his technique trial and hopefully not too many errors. He has only a vague idea of what a finished piece might look like when he starts. The way Phil sees it, is there are an infinite number of sculptures in any piece of stone, so he has a lot of choices to make. Getting started is the hard part, he just has to trust that he'll figure it out as he goes along.