Portrait of Visual Artist Phillip Aceves by Vanessa Flores
(Pen on Paper)
Over a year had gone by before I discovered that Phillip Aceves, my lanky neighbor with a long ponytail, was a visual artist. One day, I met him working outdoors spray painting on a canvas. At the time, he was still an art student at the Otis College of Art and Design. In May 2012, after a three-year program, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Communication Arts: illustration and graphic design.
Phillip’s works include portraits, mindscapes, abstract expressionism, and pop surrealism. In his portraits, he strives to capture his subject’s inner character. His portrait of Vanessa is one of his favorites.
His mindscapes, like Twilight Shaman, evolved over twenty-plus years of living in California’s Mojave Desert and expanded through his exposure to Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings. As a child, he perceived the desert landscape as a blank canvas on which to conjure up his own images.
Fascinated by what he considers a visual technique of reckless controlled chaos, Phillip draws inspiration for his abstract paintings from Jackson Pollock.
His favorite colors—yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and cobalt blue—are a legacy of his years submerged in the desert landscape. Other favorites include burgundy, purple, and violet. While he mostly creates with oil paints, he also works with other medium: spray paints, markers, pen and ink, and, to a lesser extent, watercolor and collage.
Inspiration comes from making sense of the world he lives in and events that affect his life. The Raven recaptures a life-changing event. Eight years ago, while he and his friends were enjoying a day at a popular Amusement Park, a large raven swooped down and clawed Phillip’s head. The unexplained attack resulted in facial nerve paralysis, known as Bell’s palsy, on one side of his face. For four months, his one-sided drooped face drew unwanted negative attention. The experience gave him a new perspective of life. No more does he make fun of other people. Death of our old self leads to a new beginning.
Like far too many visual artists, Phillip’s greatest challenge lies in maintaining a balance between financial stability and passion for his craft. His main source of income comes from his work as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer: mainly logos, T-shirt designs, and business cards. After a rewarding part-time stint as an art teacher at an independent art studio, he plans to pursue other teaching opportunities.