As a reflection of our suffering or our euphoria, art is entertainment; a play on how ridiculous or how profoundly deep we imagine our lives to be at the time. Similar to music, art is emotively stimulating while being oddly abstract and existing in real time a.k.a. the present. Art appears to be from the past yet, as its context is always in motion, the physicality of images is subject to constant relative change, and therefore, a successful work should endure the mangling effect of human opinion over time.
All that I am trying to say is that we are all a part of something exquisite. Beauty is an abundant tool we have and may use to better flow through the difficulties and simultaneously celebrate our success and survival, all while being present.
Born 1965, of a Dutch father, Laurens J. Schalekamp and Indonesian mother, Elsje Bohnert, Phillip Schalekamp grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where this clash of three rich cultures laid the foundation for his omnivorous approach to understanding.
From a very young age, Phillip began to discover his passionate interest in the way all things worked. He would dismantle anything mechanical he could get his hands on; i.e. clocks, bicycles, appliances, even automobile parts. Soon he learned to reconstruct these various items even to the point of modifying them, and eventually making entirely new things. To Phillip, these objects represent human ingenuity; the way people cope with being small and clumsy.
At age fourteen, Phillip moved with his mother to Houston, Texas where he attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, the original magnet school of its kind. Although graduating through the Art Department, intimate exposure to the performing arts was tantamount. Also during his time in Houston, Schalekamp learned structural welding and fine metalworking as an artist’s assistant to the renowned sculptor, Robert Fowler. Schalekamp’s summers during high school were spent building luxury houses and condominiums from the footings to the finished woodworking.
Further studies granted Schalekamp a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. While in school at S.A.I.C., Schalekamp founded his business, SPDI that he owns to this day. SPDI produces fine millwork, specialty metal fabrication and mountmaking, which is an art form that seeks to cradle exhibitive objects for museums, galleries and private collectors.
Schalekamp is an avid outdoorsman which is due in large part to his late father’s innate desire to experience as much life outside as possible. Their time exploring through hiking, camping and hunting in the wilderness had a profound influence on the way Phillip perceives large open spaces.
Schalekamp’s cultural upbringing, from which his intuition about people is derived, his outdoor adventures in landscape, his fondness for mechanical devices along with his intensive training as an artist and professional all combine to reveal his broad spectrum of perception and interpretation, his precise yet playful nature and inherent sense of depth and dimensionality.