Pop Up Artist Phil Laughlin

Featured Artist, Phil Laughlin is the guest artist for Pop Up beginning Tuesday, July 10  through Monday, July 16. Read on to learn more about his inspiration, his process, and his work.

July 10-July 16

“The idea that man has a relationship with nature has been with us all along. What’s new is our understanding of the complexities and subtleties of that relationship and the role we play in that balance. When I observe a landscape subject with my 21st-century painter’s eyes, I am aware not only of how nature has shaped us but how we have had a reciprocal impact on nature.” Phil Laughlin

Phil Laughlin was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Like most kids, he enjoyed drawing, but you wouldn’t have guessed from his childhood that art would become his passion.  At home, the idea of a career in the arts was never discussed.  School offered one art course in 12 years of public education.  The prevailing attitude was “Okay… We’ve checked the art box on the curriculum form, let’s move on to the real business of life.”


His academic strengths were math and science so it seemed like engineering would be a good course of study at college.  This seemingly straightforward plan collided with the social upheaval of the late 1960’s. In the second year at SUNY Stony Brook, he began to question his career path in the counterculture-style of the times.  Doing something in the creative arts seemed more meaningful than building rockets, so he switched majors to studio arts.

When he graduated from Worcester Museum Art School, Abstract Impressionism was relinquishing the spotlight.  Several other art movements emerged in rapid succession.  The ones exploring newfound notions of realism were of most interest.  He moved to New York City and continued to paint.  The need for employment pushed him to study applied arts and work as a graphic designer.

Creatively, commercial design work wasn’t very fulfilling, but the opportunities presented by the city itself and the exposure Manhattan offered to new ideas and new standards of artistic professionalism were their own reward.  World-class galleries and museums were in abundance.  He passionately consumed it all.

In 1986, Phil moved his family to the beautiful green mountain state of Vermont.  At the same time, desktop computers hit the scene.  After a period of experimentation, he found himself gravitating towards illustration software, rendering product, and technical subjects.  Painting time had to share with work time while he raised his family.  Children grew, moved out, and he gradually rebalanced his schedule to once again favor landscape painting.

Along the way, he discovered the rich tradition of New England painting built by generations of artists.  Casting aside the last bit of guilt over leaving the formal concerns of modern abstraction behind, he joined other contemporary artists working with and extending that tradition.

Currently, he paints local scenes from his rural home in Williston, Vermont.

Laughlin will be showing his work at Pop Up on Maine Art Hill at 5 Chase Hill Rd. in Kennebunk from July 10 to July 16. The gallery is open every day at 10 am. For more info about Laughlin and his work, follow this link to his website. www.phillaughlinart.com

“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.”- Carl Sagan