World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 35 – Phil Bloom

Last year I was at the opening of Phil Bloom’s new exhibition in Kers Gallery in Amsterdam. In the sixties Bloom was a hot topic at my high school in ’s Hertogenbosch. Days, if not weeks, she was – in the breaks and even during class – the topic of conversation. A broadcast of a VPRO television program ‘Hoepla’ was the cause of all this. Even prime minister Piet de Jong interfered.   

After this hectic period Phil Bloom had a steady career in art with paintings, drawings, photographs, films, videos and performances. At Kers gallery I saw large oil paintings with her main icons: Bambi, the deer, deers with huge antlers, Micky, Tintin and the Pink Elephant and the sacred Indian God Ganesha. It’s busy in the gallery and many old friends shake her hand.

Far East

A few days later I talked to her about her work. ‘My painting is actually writing. I have been working since 1980 on a continous story with a few main characters. I was five years in America. Mickey Mouse was then my main character. Then innocence showed up in the form of the deer Bambi. Then there came the elephant Ganesha.

She went, except for America, to many places and countries. Antwerp, Lapland, Russia – she made two films there – India and Japan. Her work is recorded in three thick books in a cassette. About every ten years there is a book. The books are still for sale, combined – if desired – with a lino print.

The cassette book:

‘For years I’m working with deer, all kinds, all sizes. I paint and draw them, I collect them, they figure in installations, films and photography. I see the fear of the inevitable end, for the passing of things, to ‘leave the nest’. I see it in human life and in nature. And yet there is progress, an invisible pendulum that never stands still. This is the startingpoint of my work, with the deer as primal being. Generations endeavor. Today’s life will turn into history – but the deer continue to exist. They are a constant factor and silent witnesses of what once was. Eventually everything in life centers around movement, running away, make a distance from. It is the movement we call “lemniscate”, the eternal circle of life and death. My film LEMNISCAAT shows a solid walk towards infinity, close to the elusive dreamworld of the infinite, in a landscape that seems to escape time.’   


For decades she is painting with oilpaint. The technique she uses is ‘alla prima’, wet-on-wet. ‘I start with pink, the background is always pink. Pink has a friendly touch, a positive connotation despite the black all around. In my work you will always see the relativity of life. With nature and animals, and death. There is always a lot of humor present.’   

Around the year 2000 there was at Amsterdam Art Society Arti et Amicitae a very large painting to be seen of four feet high and nine feet wide where all the main characters appeared. ‘It was later removed in sections apart and sold to various interested parties.’

Phil’s art training began in 1965 in The Hague at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and then the Vrije Academie (the Free Academy). In 1967 – the year of Hoepla – she went to Amsterdam, to the Rietveld Academy and, in 1976 to the Rijksacademie. From 1977 to 1980 she studied at New York’s Pratt Institute, where she worked on printing techniques.’When I look back, Is see that I have done a lot of courses. At Rietveld I graduated in painting and printing. Actually, I’m a graphic designer.’   

Phil’s Dream (from cassette book)

‘There is a dream that I dreamed when I was a girl of six, seven. And still returns in my nocturnal adventures. In the dream I hoisted myself on the back of a horse. A robust, dark and large horse. On that horse I ride at a galop from my parents house in Berkel and Rodenrijs at full speed on the cobbled stones of the main road. I put my ankles in the flanks of the fiery beast and encourage it to make more speed than it already does. We fly through the landscape in seething speed, and are heading for the church. It is the catholic Church, where my parents received the holy wafer on Sundays. The gate of the church is open. And in full gallop I trot, on the horse, cross through the church. We clatter across the aisle, and head right off the altarpiece, where the sacrament ceremony is conducted in front of the church community. Horse and I fly through the rear walls of the church. Then the dream, who attends me now for sixty years, stops, as suddenly as it arose out of the mist of my subconcious.’

The last cassette book is for sale, see her website.

Photo Phil Bloom: Mark Hoogeveen



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