Sydney artist Philjames.

Sydney artist Philjames.

Sydney artist Philjames.

Sydney artist Philjames.


Sydney artist Philjames is an elusive character. He doesn’t have a website and he doesn’t like to show his face in public. “Yeah, I kinda like the incognito thing. Not that I’m trying to be Banksy or anything, I just don’t like posing for photos” said the artist during our email exchange. Fair enough! His works speaks for itself after-all.

Philjames studied Bachelor of Fine Art at The National Art School. Upon graduation he was awarded The Australian Galleries Works on Paper Prize for excellence in Printmaking. He has twice been a finalist in the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and has won numerous other prizes. More recently he was awarded a Creative Industries Development fund grant and also completed an Australian Cultural Residency program in Beijing. His work is held in private collections locally and internationally.

Featured Project // Philjames’ clever re-workings of existing and vintage artworks, and his recent print collaboration with Sydney avant-garde fashion label Romance Was Born.

Why It Rocks // His work is flavoured with a unique sense of cheeky humour and irony. I also really love the way he challenges the traditional preconceptions of art, and makes his pieces accessible and non-elistis.

Below is a little Q&A with the artist. You can also follow him on Instagram.


Sydney artist Philjames.


+ What is the main driver / source of inspiration behind your art?

The main drive behind my work is the simple compulsion to create. There’s also a desire to entertain. I really enjoy narrative in work and so I strive to infuse these aspects into whatever it is I’m working on. If the viewer can walk away feeling happy, or having their imagination stirred a little, then that counts as a huge success for me.

The inspiration for my work comes from my life. Everything I’ve taken in over my lifetime that has stimulated me in any way, whether it be joyful or heavy, can somehow be translated into a piece. It may be lyrics from a song, a scene from a film or a personal experience of my own making – there’s just so much stimulus around it almost drives me nuts!


Romance Was Born x Sydney artist Philjames.


+ Tell us about your recent collaboration with Romance Was Born and how it came about.

My recent collaboration with Romance Was Born was a very fortuitous, well, an accident really. I created the image some time ago as a stand alone piece and had sent it to AvantCard as part of their artist program. The work was printed and distributed and I was sent a bunch myself.

The director of the gallery I have been exhibiting with quite extensively, Sebastian Goldspink (awesome name) passed the card on to Luke Sayles (one half of RWB) at an opening and he loved it. At the time they were working on their new collection which centred around ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ and thought it made a great match. They in turn contacted me and I was really excited to be a small part of their creative process. I really think they’re doing exciting things.


Romance Was Born x Sydney artist Philjames.


+ Did you learn anything from this collaboration? Would you have done anything differently?

One thing I learned from this collaboration is that it pays to work with professionals. Particularly ones whose work you admire. I’ve said ‘no’ a lot in the past. Before learning how to say that very important word, I’ve witnessed (first hand) some horror stories. Theres nothing in that experience I would do differently, but I would kill for a chance to do it all again!


Sydney artist Philjames.


+ Are there any interesting/ funny/ quirky facts about your work in general that you could share with us?

While I don’t have any quirky facts to share about my work, there is a nice little anecdote. I’ve been known to affix my framed work in public spaces from time to time. I screw them in and liquid-nail them to walls. At one point I reworked an image of Lady Diana and glued it to a wall in Paddington. It would often get graffitied and I’d go clean it up as this would happen a lot. At one point I walked past and someone had mashed the remnants of a meat pie on the surface and written all sorts of abuse on the glass. That afternoon I returned to clean it, and someone else had done it for me. It’s hard to explain but it was a really nice feeling to know that someone out there appreciate the work and had made the effort to clean it up. I walked home really buzzing, it was nice.


Sydney artist Philjames.


+ Tell us about one thing that’s inspiring you lately and why.

My friends and peers. I’m really fortunate to be a part of a creative community that truly supports each other and works hard to move forward. I really couldn’t ask for more.


Sydney artist Philjames.


+ My motto is… do something.
+ My favourite quote is… from Lucy in ‘Peanuts’ comic strip – “A tragic life is romantic when it happens to somebody else”.
+ Best piece of advice I’ve been given… is the one I would receive every day before school from my Dad – “Learn your lessons well and one day you’ll be as smart as me”. Still working on that one.
+ If I was not an artist, I would be… wandering aimlessly.
+ Nothing inspires me like… the people around me.
+ I am really good at… writing one-word to-do lists decipherable only by me.


Sydney artist Philjames.

[Images courtesy of the artist].


About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

7 Responses

  1. Avatar

    Love Philjames work… considering he can’t be found online, where can I buy it?!

  2. Avatar

    Elusive, not allusive. You might want to change that. But I enjoyed the rest of it!

    • yellowtrace

      Thank you for pointing this out Sara. Slightly embarrassing, even though English is my second language, but all fixed now.


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