Philip Roberts

"I had a childhood surrounded by farmers, carpenters, engineers, and a freedom to build things. This perfect cocktail of ingredients was perfect for someone who loved to tinker, create, destroy, and start over."

Designing and then working with a variety of precisely laser-cut pieces of super-thin plywood, New Jersey-based artist Philip Roberts creates captivating layered wood relief sculptures. The intention is to inspire viewers and greatly enhance surrounding environments. Building the intricate form starts from digital illustrations which are meticulously transformed into wood with his laser cutters. The individual components are then finished and glued by hand.

Coming from a career in custom wooden furniture, Phil aims to combine his love for woodworking with his background in design. While initial ideas are sketched digitally, the physical form requires balancing design and function. The demands of building in physical support systems throughout the artwork is a design challenge that increases the difficulty and the quality of the final relief aesthetic. Having to simultaneously balance form and function pushes the final design further than if those challenges didn’t exist.

After studying digital media in college, Philip worked professionally as a freelance photographer, videographer, and designer for a number of years. Desperately missing hands-on work, he began a wooden furniture business which quickly grew into a company shipping furniture nationally with a full-time crew of 12 employees. Missing the "design" portion of work, Phil sold the furniture company four years later to seek out the perfect balance between "design" work and "hands-on" work. In 2017, Philip started creating wooden artwork which would require a mechanical aptitude, a heavy design sense, and hours of hands-on work in the woodshop. The challenge has kept him on his toes, and he continually looks for ways to push the medium a bit further.