Born 1983, Vancouver, BC.
Philip Gray was born and raised in Vancouver, and has been carving since 1999. Of both Cree and Tsimshian decent, he wasn’t exposed to his cultural traditions until as a teenager he joined a First Nations dance group. Dancing would become his first experience of Tsimshian culture and this, along with his continued participation in ceremonial traditions, has strongly informed his work and career as an artist. His is some of the most creative, innovative and paradoxically traditional art in the contemporary Northwest Coast art world.
Gray learned his carving skills from Gerry Sheena, and worked with artists Mike Dangeli, David Boxley, Henry Green, Lyle Campbell and Ian Reid. He also had the opportunity to study Advanced Design under renowned Haida artist, Robert Davidson. He is specialized in carving masks, panels, poles, sculptures and drums. Although his earlier work was made in more generalized Northern design principles, through study and practice he has developed a distinct Tsimshian style. While Gray carves for the commercial market, he also produces works for use by his own family. He distinguishes between the two in his art using more general versions of old stories in commercial work and more specific stories in work that will be danced or used in ceremony.
He had three of his pieces donated to the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington and has been in a number of prominent exhibitions and publications. Most recently one of his pieces was featured in the 2012 exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, “Shore, Forest, and Beyond”.