Philippe Guillerm (b. 1959) is a master of form, giving it priority over function in his compelling sculptures. He liberates the soul of his “instruments”, adding physical expression to voice. Philippe is a remarkable craftsman – he seems to work the wood effortlessly, as if it were clay. The end result is a piece that appears as fluid as it should sound.
Guillerm’s music-inspired sculptures are whimsical and curvaceous string instruments. He uses this continuous theme as a way of expressing human nature and needs; you may see an instrument, but Philippe sees an attitude. In addition to the musical theme, many of his sculptures depict sea scenes and animals. His other works include functional art like “Sculptural-speakers”, finely carved furniture, large dimensional wall murals and monumental outdoor pieces. His works reflect dreams, illusions, and reality and invite the viewer to stop and reflect about human nature.
Philippe was born in Paris in 1959, where he continued to live for twenty years. For the last thirty years he traveled around the world on his forty-eight foot sailboat with his wife Jacqueline and their two daughters, Monique and Swanne. He has worked on different art projects across the globe in places such as the Black Pearl Museum in Tahiti, the International airports in Papeete and New Caledonia, and several yacht clubs and restaurants in Brazil and Australia. Most recently Philippe and Jacqueline sailed to the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, and all over the Caribbean creating work from found wood on the beach. He is now summering in coastal Maine.
Philippe’s work has been exhibited in galleries in Europe, South America, the Pacific Islands, France, Canada and the United States. His interior designs and murals are in demand due to his clear sense of composition and development of the subject matter. Philippe continues to complete new projects, bringing his audience dreams and inspiration through his art.
Philippe has completed many private commissions. Please ask how we can accommodate you.
Statement from Philippe:
Art and music are more direct languages than spoken or written words could ever be, and my sculptures sing. I’ve always wanted to send a message that could be accessible to all. My family is originally from Brittany, or “Land of the sea” where people traditionally worked as sailors and ﬁshermen. I went to engineering school, following my father’s footsteps; but I grew up surrounded by art in Paris, and my training, along with helping my father build furniture and boats, prepared me to compose my future views on sculpting. “If I had chosen art studies, I would probably have been more classically oriented, perhaps less original. Besides, “an artist is like a scientist, always researching”! With my heritage and a lifetime of summer sailing, I left France when I turned 21, for a trip that left no doubt in my mind that I wanted to live at sea and work at creating pieces of art that would challenge me in every way. Every sculpture leads me to a more difficult one –be it funnier, sadder, or more complicated. It is an intellectual pursuit, but I try to add a touch of humor and surrealism in my work. My instrument-like ﬁgures melt into human emotions, morphing with human anatomy. I see wood as paint, warmly harmonizing with life, and my pieces speak with eloquent lyrics. My travels eventually led me to countries such as: French Guyana, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, French Polynesia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and I have left an installation in brilliant native colors, a “tribute to the local wood”, at nearly every place I have stopped. Though some may decry the use of wood, I explain that I love nature and respect it with a great passion. I am well aware of the ecological challenges of our times, and I am shifting to new sustainable ways of carving. In this process, I no longer want to carve wood coming from ravaged and endangered forests. Brazilian Amazon deforestation might not seem very relevant because it happens thousands of miles from home, so we might not realize the harm that buying new Mahogany ﬂooring or Teak garden furniture does. Fact: buying unsustainable wood has a profound effect on the areas where it’s harvested, including human rights abuses, hunting of endangered species, threatening the lifestyles and even the lives of indigenous tribes, as well as making countless rare and threatened creatures homeless. My new sculptures are therefore exclusively made of beautiful driftwoods, recycled or repurposed old musical instruments and found objects, to create an annual Caribbean Collection.
Every year, my wife Jacqueline and I spend a few months aboard our sailboat. From bays to bights, from bights to lagoons, we spend a lot of time beach combing and recovering treasures that are only waiting for a creative vision to turn them into works of art. This raw material, patinated by the elements for months or even for years, would otherwise be doomed to deliquescence, but revived into exquisite sculptures, they get a new life under the watchful eye of discerning collectors. I will still make my “classic” pieces like “Love at First Sight”, “Affection” or “Stock Market”, however I now select my wood from more sustainably managed forests, gearing toward replacing Brazilian Mahogany or exotics woods by American Cherry, Oak or Birch. We have to realize that barely 8% of the world’s forests are properly protected from destruction. The timber industry is insatiable, as is our demand for wood. Much of the time it’s harvested unsustainably despite the best efforts of conservationists, governments and lawmakers. Sadly, money often speaks louder than common sense… and prevails over our future. In a nutshell, buying sustainable wood is one way we support the future of the planet’s forests. By using driftwood, recycled or repurposed musical instruments, and found objects I hope to help others change their way of thinking, as well. Philippe Guillerm