Rising Stars: Phil Hansen

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Art, Rising Stars
Tags: , , , , , ,

All of my Rising Stars so far have been musicians, and I’ve decided to spread the love just a little bit more. My next Star is an artist – an incredible artist, actually. I’m completely in awe of him and his projects. He’s one of those types of people that thinks in a way that is so different from the rest of us.

His name is Phil Hansen. The selection below is from his website, and gives you and insight into what kind of person he is and how he goes about completing his work.

I’m interested in trying to understand whole individuals and whole ideas through the fragments of perceptual memory, the sound bites, and the semiotic tokens collected by society and recollected by the individual. It’s the product of these carefully selected elements that multiplies out to a greater whole, and it’s in that product that I look for a more holistic understanding.

My present approach evolved out of what seemed at the time to be an artistic cul-de-sac: damage to the nerves in my forearm from the single-minded pursuit of pointillism. Forced to think of other ways to create art, I began pushing myself to experiment with new mediums: my torso, a tricycle, X-rays, dandelions, the Bible, key phrases out of audience stories, and so on. The selection of the medium became integral to the art, as much a part of the story and
the holistic experience as the selected fragments themselves.

In bringing my work to the public I look to create a public dialog with art, frequently inviting the audience to contribute in some way, nearly always breaking apart the artistic process in order to make it connect to a more immediate reality through video that shows manipulation of the medium from fragments into a unified whole. It’s far from a didactic endeavor: I draw inspiration from my collaborators’ experiences as much as they discover art through my work.

(If you’re unsure of what Pointillism is, a famous visual reference would be Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.)

Phil is a great artist – his works are incredibly realistic and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s talented. But apart from that, my favorite thing about him is his method. He doesn’t go about creating his art in the usual way, and that is what makes him extraordinary.

As we should with all art, I’ll just let it speak for itself.


Here’s a compilation of one of his projects.


An example of how much thinking and meaning goes into each project.

Here’s a controversial one, but one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Please do me a favor and check out his website, at least. He has a ton more videos up and you can even purchase some of his works in poster-form if you’re so inclined. At the very least I’m sure you’ll be entertained, but I also hope you learn something: that there is power in art (and, yes, that includes writing), that it never hurts to think outside the box, and that getting messy is sometimes the best way to get something done.


  1. Debra Kristi says:

    He is pretty amazing Thanks for sharing him with us Karen.

  2. […] I can see his work being featured outside of someone’s office like Conan O’ Brian’s. You can find Phil featured on the blog of The Midnight Novelist. On a side note, my DVR has cheated death for some time now, pixilating many of my favorite shows. […]

  3. […] you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you might remember that I mentioned Phil Hansen a while back. He’s my favorite contemporary artist. I think the guy’s a genius. And the best part about him? […]

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