Philip Farley is
very meticulous. Stroke by stroke, detail by detail, his brush breaths life
into our wildlife, our landscapes and our people.
This is a down to earth man who
really sees the world, and then shares his vision with us through his art’s
almost photographic accuracy. Australian Born in 1960, Philip grew up by the
sea in Brisbane’s bay side area. From an early age he was happiest when
exploring creeks, mountains and shorelines, observing wildlife, and drawing
or painting. Philip remembers that he could always draw well and accurately
compared to other children, even as a young boy at school. His parents
recognized and fostered his talent for art, and at the age of 12, they
organized private tuition in watercolour. Philip went on to experiment with
new media and to develop his colour sense and technique at the Queensland
College of Art.
Facing an artist’s typical
career choice on graduation (compromise or starve), Philip accepted a job as
a commercial illustrator with an advertising agency.
After seven years of producing
disposable art, the desire to be artistically independent, to create
treasures that could be “handed down from generation to generation” became
irresistible. In 1989 Philip made the liberating leap to fulltime fine
artist. During this time Philip’s love for nature and the outdoors grew.
Many weekends and holidays were spent bushwalking amongst the surrounding
mountain ranges of Brisbane. Combine these interests with travel and he was
soon cross-country skiing in the Australian Alps, bushwalking across the
Tasmanian Highlands, then tramping and mountain climbing in New Zealand’s
Other cultures were then
experienced when backpacking with a missionary friend through some very
remote parts of Papua New Guinea. Philip enjoyed mountainous areas but he
yearned to see the mightiest of them all, Mt Everest. So along with his
friend Carrol, Philip found himself in Nepal undertaking an arduous trek to
Everest Base Camp. China became another destination where Philip and Carrol
were drawn to, they spent six weeks backpacking around a country whose
provinces had not long been opened to western tourists. Through all these
travels Philip was armed with his camera and sketch book, “simply being part
of nature, you just have to be inspired by it”.
So, together with these
experiences and with a passion for wild areas and its wildlife, it was
inevitable that a lot of Philip’s artwork would fall into the category of
Wildlife Art. He became a member of the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia.
At their annual exhibition, Philip received awards in three consecutive
years for “Best Bird Painting”, “The Sam Slater Award” for the best young
artist, and “Best Watercolour”. In addition, Philip has three times been
voted “Most Popular Artist” at the annual exhibition of the Queensland
Wildlife Artist Society. He was delighted to be named first runner-up in the
$75,000 James Hardie Wildlife Art Prize in 1991. Another highlight was at
the Annual Queensland Sunday Mail Art Show, where out of over 700 paintings,
Philip’s piece “Country Trio” was voted by the public as the most popular
Philip and Carrol now a married
couple, moved and restored an old Queenslander timber house for their first
home, this started his continuing love and use of these grand old homes as
major subjects for many of his paintings.
Philip’s detail and accuracy in
his images made them ideal for Limited Edition Prints. So the first of his
artworks was released as prints in 1990 and were very successful. Since then
he has released over 40 exceptionally fine Limited Edition Prints, almost
half of which have sold out. Philip has also created a publishing company,
known as Farley Art Editions. As only a few people can enjoy a Farley
original in their lounge room, the release of his prints has made his
artwork affordable and collectable.
One of the many highlights of
his career was when he was commissioned to do a portrait of Peter Brock.
From this a Limited Edition Print was produced which was co-signed by both
Peter and Philip. With Peter’s popularity and Philip’s reputation it was an
immediate sell out.
Now with three children, two
boys and a girl, the family has moved to their own five acre nature
sanctuary. The children enjoy spotlighting for koalas and wallabies at
night, and hand feeding the possums. Philip’ s bird count of different
species seen on or from the property is nearing 100. So, with his studio
surrounded by bushland and waterways he doesn’t have to travel far for
Yet he continues to challenge
himself, developing and honing his style, technique and use of colour and
light. More recently he has relished in the challenge of pushing the limits
of his portrait skills, accurately capturing the likeness of his many
Why do art collectors prize
Philip Farley originals and prints? The magic – and the passion – is in the