By Jacqueline Monahan
Philip Kenton Art Show Presented By Odyssey Lifestyle
Enamel spray cans of paint usually strike fear in the hearts of polite society, conjuring up images of vandalized train cars, underpasses, community walls and empty billboards.
In artist Philip Kenton’s hands, they are the keys to the galaxy, a means of mapmaking that illustrate an unseen world, full of color, texture, and mystery. His galactic “spacescapes” are absorbing, pulling your gaze so deep you’ll want to stare at it to decide just what part you’d like to land on.
Kenton’s work was showcased by Odyssey Lifestyle with a reception for the artist on June 3rd. The courtly London native turned Las Vegas local (he lives in Anthem) expresses his other worlds in movement, color and texture that even he is surprised at. “Look at this,” he exclaimed, lightly brushing his fingers over a corner of one of his works, “That’s five layers deep!”
The depth, or veiling of color as it’s called, can steer your eyes toward pools and rings and spheres of wonder. Using chemicals on top of paint to make it bubble for a desired effect, Kenton marvels at the “misty effect” that he’s mastered, not really understanding himself where it came from, but welcoming the happy accident that’s helped him translate his vision of the universe. There’s movement within the stillness of space, complete with vibrant splashes of color as celestial carpets of stars host fiery nebulae, and double moons rise seductively in their orbit.
He’ll enthusiastically show you his work whether framed or not, and throw in a story about how each was created. His first, the aptly named “Genesis” had the unique distinction of being the only time he used lids to create planetary shapes instead of stencils. Saying he used to be “more into planets”, Kenton states that he now tends to concentrate on the spaces in between, the non-solid areas where flights of fancy can emerge.
His favorite is a work called A Galaxy Far, Far Away, but more than one of his works carries that title, a prerogative Kenton claims as “permissible.” Other titles include “Inferno”, “Approaching Virgo”, and "Red Ice Galaxy"; the works are like fingerprints of originality. You won’t find any two that are exactly alike, but you can tell they came from the same hand.
Paintings take from 30 minutes to 2 months to create, with a price range from $250 -$650. All are signed by the artist.
“I can’t do portraits or still life(s) or minis,” he says. If spray cans became extinct, he would discontinue his celestial productions. On this point he’s adamant, stating he’d work with no other media.
Born and raised near the Tower of London, Kenton became a United States citizen more than 40 years ago and began painting without any formal instruction. When he did enroll in the Minneapolis Institute of Art in order to hone his skills, he was given a refund within a few weeks and told that there was no need for him to continue. “They told me I was already where I needed to be.”
Strongly influenced by Mexican abstract artist and sculptor Leonardo Nierman (Mendelejis), Kenton has been described as an instinctive artist, creating the majesty of space, and incorporating inspiration from all of nature; cloud formations, sunsets, the sea and the cosmos have all been his models at some point. The stars, sun and planets are simply further away, but firmly in his skillful grasp.
Kenton states that if one were to look through the Hubble Telescope, adding a little artistic license, you would have his thoughts on the universe. He resisted the impulse for a long time before recently taking a peak. “I didn’t want to copy anything. It all comes from my imagination.”
His paintings have been displayed at the Marshall Gallery, Old Town Gallery, in Henderson Nevada; Art Encounter, Odyssey Celebration at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada; and The Country Club at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. While residing in Oregon, his paintings have hung at the Donatello Gallery and Gresham City Hall. They’ve crossed two oceans, finding homes in England and throughout the U.S., including Hawaii.
A very successful showing at the 2009 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he sold ten paintings in three days earned him the title of “The Creator” from devoted Trekkers. He’s been invited to return to the convention in August 2010.
In the artist’s own words:
“People often ask me why I paint abstract and the answer is quite simple... We live in a structured and organized environment. That’s a world I don’t want to paint as an artist.”
“My medium is enamel and has a varnish finish which significantly enhances the colors… It has been proven that abstract art is a great healer. The colors and shapes can change your emotions from negative to positive very quickly. It also can create a calming and peaceful influence. The universe belongs to all of us…”
It may belong to all of us, but Kenton knows how to coax it out of a can, spray it on paper, and capture infinity within four corners. And that makes buying the stairway to heaven a real possibility.
About Odyssey Lifestyle/The Odyssey Foundation:
The Odyssey Lifestyle’s charitable arm, The Odyssey Foundation (under the aegis of the National Heritage Foundation) uses Las Vegas’ annual Odyssey events (a world of food and wine combined with the visual, musical and performing arts) to raise money for charities, which include the Las Vegas Le Cordon Bleu School culinary scholarship program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Founded by Mark and Virginia Martino in 2000, The Odyssey Lifestyle also includes an event planning division and other ancillary professional assets, including the resources of BRAND, Ltd., a full service integrated marketing firm established by the Martinos. All divisions of The Odyssey Lifestyle are based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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