Artist Feature: Philip Munoz

Editor Shenyah Webb, Art, January 27th, 2016

Tattoos blossom at the intersection of the body and art.

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We tend to think of our bodies simply as products of nature. More abstractly, our bodies are often symbols of our culture. We modify our appearance to conform to ideals of what is seen as beauty, our style represents a culture or sub-culture, and through body modification, we convey information about our personal interests and utilize our skin as a canvas for creative self-expression. Tattoos blossom at the intersection of the body and art. Our bodies act like a memorial, each piece revealing something intimate about its canvas; family, loved ones, our personal history, partnership.

What once was largely associated with criminality and deviance, now is socially acceptable and not so uncommon. Tattoos have become a way of controlling our identities and expressing our creativity, also acting as a means of commemorating or moving on; claiming ownership of our bodies, trauma healing, empowering us, and promoting body acceptance and self-esteem. Yes, tattoos and piercings can serve as other less empowering reminders of poor choices, failed relationships, or other profound regrets, but even still, they are a reflection of the who behind the self. Regardless, I believe many people gain an increased sense of self-confidence after becoming pierced or tattooed. Is it because of this control of our selves, because of the healing it provides, because of our release through self-expression?

The hyper-realistic oil paintings of Philip Munoz are quite impressive, almost flawless. His subjects, almost always modified with tattoos and piercings serve as an inspiration for his immaculate work. Many of his subjects are painted upon a photo-shoot with the artist, their input into how they are portrayed is really important to Munoz. He has also painted a few street scenes where the subject is unaware of him photographing them, so they tend to stay anonymous to him and the viewer; and there the art lends itself to a certain degree of voyeurism.

“I am drawn to the vibrant and youthful, care-free characters I see every day outside the doors of my studio… My work is concerned with the notion of glamour and its role in social identity. I am particularly interested in the idea of beauty through transformation and the concept of the contemporary sublime.”

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Philip Munoz artist featurePhilip Munoz lives and works in Bristol. He graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol in 2002. He is a self-taught painter represented by The Albemarle Gallery, London. Munoz has held several group and solo exhibitions. He has been a resident of Jamaica Street Studios in Bristol since 2006.

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Shenyah Webb

Shenyah Webb is a Portland-based visual artist and musician. She has been with NAILED Magazine since its inception in 2012 and has served as the Arts Editor and a Contributing Editor since its launch in 2013. A Detroit native, she attended The College for Creative Studies, where she focused on Fine Art and Industrial Design. She is currently enrolled in a Somatic Expressive Arts Education and Therapy training program, studying under Lanie Bergin. You can learn more about Shenyah here. (Shenyah.com)