I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?
— Nina Simone
Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
— Charles Mingus

About Phil

Phil McKay is a Sydney (Australia) based artist who works in acrylics and charcoal. He undertook 18 months study at the Julian Ashton Art School, followed by a number of short courses at the National Art School. Although Phil initially looked at traditional landscapes for inspiration, his current focus is on the urban environment. The urban landscape is a reflection of his childhood passion of wandering the streets of his neighbourhood and country towns where his relatives lived. He has a fascination with the angles roofs create against one another, and against the sky, and the unusual shapes and spaces created by streets and pathways.

Phil is an Associate Member of the Royal Art Society of NSW and a member of the St George and Randwick Art Societies. In 2014 Phil leased a studio in an artist complex in St Peters enabling expansion of ideas, experimentation in new styles and at-hand support and critique.


2017: 'Drawn to Balmain' at Breathing Colours Gallery (joint exhibition)
2016-17 Butcher Shop Cafe, Mudgee
2016: 'All Square' solo exhibition at Sheffer Gallery
2015: 'Urban Blue' solo exhibition at Gallery East


2019 Winner Oils/Acrylics; Highly Commended Drawing & Mixed Media; Randwick Art Society Annual Exhibition
2019 Oils and Acrylics, CASS Art of Sydney Exhibition
2018 Best in Show, Randwick Art Society Annual Exhibition
2018 Winner, Drawing Prize, Drummoyne Art Society
2017 Winner, Myrle King Award (still life), St George Art Society
2017: Best in Show, Randwick Art Society
2016: Finalist, Paddington Art Prize
2015: Highly Commended, Royal Easter Show; Best in Show, Randwick Art Society; Award for Excellence, St George Art Society
2014: Wal Chandler Award, St George Art Society
2013: Medal of Distinction, Royal Art Society of NSW
2012: Works on Paper prize, Combined Art Societies of Sydney Art of Sydney Exhibition
2011: Alan Hansen Memorial Award, Royal Art Society of NSW


Phil draws his inspiration from the environment around him and from many artists, both past and present. The following, in particular, resonates with Phil.

"If you want to be an artist, you go to an art supply house and get some ink and some paper and pens, and a calligraphy brush and charcoal, and aim at virtually whatever is in front of you, the subject matter is not important. And then try and cheat and deceive and lie and exaggerate and most particularly distort as absolutely, as extremely, as you can. And after some six months or a year, or usually in a state of intense frustration, you'll see something that you truly have never seen before, and that is the beginning of yourself, and that heralds the beginning of difficult pleasure." - Brett Whiteley (1989)