Phil Schuster is a sculptor with over 25 years experience in creating bas-relief sculptures and public art environments. In recent years, working with the Chicago Public Art Group and others, he has made innovative works involving communities in the design and construction process of large scale, site-specific artworks.
Balancing the technical necessities of making work for a harsh climate and the variety of skills needed to work in community settings, Schuster has made dozens of unique art installations, creating whimsical concrete gardens in urban spaces. Schuster has explored new techniques in working with concrete--such as combining cast forms with direct sculpting or reverse casting. Many of his artworks take the form of usable objects in public space, including seating forms, planters, birdbaths, and stepping stones.
To see a Schuster project being made is to see a form of public performance as people gather to witness humble materials being transformed into magical things such as a Storytelling Throne or a concrete stream with floating ceramic leaves. He frequently works as a residency artist in schools, engaging children and teens in changing the anonymous spaces surrounding their schools into welcoming, amusing, and educational environments.
Schuster has served as an artist in residence in many places, including the Kohler Company “Arts in Industry Fellowship,” Art Park in Lewistown, New York, and at the Jam Factory Craft and Design Center in Adelaide, Australia. Schuster work is discussed in many books and articles, such as Contemporary American Craft, Ceramics Monthly Magazine, and the Chicago Reader.
Phil Schuster Artist Statement
I am a sculptor/landscape designer with over twenty five years experience working on public projects. My background as a ceramicist moved me to explore other materials notably concrete. In this process, I have explored reverse casting, direct sculpting and casting concrete in latex molds.
I work with the Chicago Public Art Group and others continuing innovative work involving communities in the design and construction process of large scale, site specific art projects.
My intent as a public artist is to explore how art transforms the environment in which it is placed. My goal is to expose the general public to art they can respond to and be inspired by.