Using such wide-ranging materials as fleece, felt, fur and foam, Barbato's set of quirky creatures, monsters, whosis and whatsits brings a squishy familiarity and sweetness to a modern art scene preoccupied with nonsensical experimentation and self-indulgent statements.
Phil Barbato b. 1976, Long Island, NY. Though proficient in math as well as art in high school, Phil did not want a life of calculation and chalk dust. He thought art would be the easier path. He entered Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Art in the fall of 1994. This turned out not to be the easier path.After an extended stay at VCU, where he earned a BFA in Sculpture and Extended Media with a Film minor, Phil settled in Richmond, Virginia and into a working life. He held several jobs, each one a variation on the theme “Creative Professional.” His artistic ambition, however, did not rest.
In his late twenties, prolific and successful artist friends (and jealousy) motivated Phil to rededicate himself to his career. He began painting regularly and experimenting with plush. He discovered his work had the power to make people giggle and point and say things like, “I want that!” This was a good thing. Throughout the mid aughts, Phil sold his art at the Bizarre Market and group gallery exhibitions in Richmond. Over the last 3 years, he has branched out to regional and national shows including: The Art Star Craft Bazaar in Philadelphia, Renegade Chicago (part of an Etsy Plush team group booth), The Brooklyn Lyceum Market, and Crafty Bastards in Washington, D.C.