Philip Roberts

Philip Roberts

About The Artist

Philip Roberts • Southampton Township, NJ

Philip's process involves a cocktail of modern day technology plus simple, old school patience. While utilizing technology within the process allows Philip to stretch what is possible for the composition, there is no substitute for copious amounts of hands-on effort invested into a piece of woodwork. The medium requires a mindful balance of design and structural integrity. This ceaseless give-and-take drives the final artwork to emanate both a traditional aesthetic with a modern freshness.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

Through a cocktail of hands-on work plus machining, New Jersey-based artist Philip Roberts creates captivating layered-wood Relief Sculptures. They are built to inspire curiosity through intricate details while bringing a warm touch to any environment. Building the intricate form starts with endless hours of building vector illustrations which are then painstakingly transformed into layers with his laser cutters. The fragile layers are then meticulously worked over to then be finished and glued by hand into a final image. Everything from start to finish is completed within Philip’s studio.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Igniting curiosity through complexity. Sparking curiosity in strangers is infinitely rewarding. For my own work, the ability to draw folks in relies heavily on my ability to add motivated details. More than expected. Remarkably more than expected. The key is to have an aesthetic that is pleasant from afar but leaves the viewer feeling as though they aren’t getting the whole picture. This pulls them toward the work and their exploration leads them so close the subtle wood aroma even becomes a part of the experience. More often than not, they take a moment here, then back up to view the entire piece, then repeat. I’m fortunate enough to occasionally witness someone taking this curiosity-driven adventure and it is fun to watch every time. There is a natural passion that bubbles up driving makers to make even better experiences.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

An obsession with processes. My love of processes makes me equally interested in how we can best create the physical work as well as the design concept behind the work. Meaning: Designing the vectors is only the beginning. It is a massive beginning, but then we enter a never ending improvement process that is re-worked over and over to create the best physical piece of work possible. By making our shop as smooth, enjoyable, and efficient as possible, more complex artwork is able come to life on our workbenches. This high standard of shop-work is not normally associated with an artist studio and this gives us a unique approach in creating works we know people love for years to come.