Stat Philips speaks to BC students about art


Photo courtesy of Stat Phillips

Stat Phillips is known for his artwork related to the Black Lives Matter movement, such as this one of George Floyd.

Nicholas Covello, Reporter

Seattle based artist Stat Phillips spoke at Bakersfield College’s second inclusivity lab and shared about his passion for art and his rise in popularity as an artist on social media on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The event was hosted by art professors Ronnie Wrest and Joseph Tipay.
The event started with Phillips recounting how he fell in love with art. At a young age, Phillips first began drawing the cartoons he saw on TV. Years later, he was playing football at the University of Alabama.
Playing football for one of the country’s top programs was not easy for Philips, who had trouble balancing the workload of a student-athlete. After he stopped playing football, Phillips took a product design class and his love for art returned as he learned how to take his work to the next level.
After his time in Alabama came to an end, Phillips moved to Texas and his creative drive was moving more than ever before. His first project as an artist was to create a version of the app “Heads Up” centered around the African American culture called “For the Culture”.
Phillips programmed the game and created the graphics by scratch. Creating this game started out as a hobby, but after encouragement from a friend, he decided to follow through with his passion for art.
“At the time, I didn’t consider myself an artist. I was just trying to make content,” Phillips said.
When Phillips first started releasing his art online, he wanted to be a “virtual Banksy” and never reveal his identity. He started off by putting out pictures that he made on Adobe Illustrator of iconic African Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, LeBron James, Tupac Shakur, and various household items that African Americans would be able to relate to. Luckily, Phillips had the tech knowledge and social media prowess needed to gain a following online.
This year, COVID-19 caused people all over the world to quarantine at home, and this helped Phillips put more time into his artwork.
“That extra time I got from not having to commute to work every day made a huge difference and allowed me to connect with myself a bit more,” Phillips said.
The Black Lives Matter movement is another thing that Phillips said really helped him figure out what kind of art he wanted to make. In June, Phillips, along with 16 other artists, helped paint “Black Lives Matter” on an entire street in Seattle. Phillips cited that day as one of his most memorable projects and working on it even helped him get back into painting.
He has since focused on using his artwork to spread the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, creating art of various different African Americans such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
As for the future, Phillips is currently working with some clothing brands, with plans on donating proceeds to a children’s hospital in Seattle.