Words of Phillip Hampton (1922-2016), “what is reality and what makes reality real?” has inspired artists to create works of art for more than half a century. His quest to find the totality, the essence of particular realities has been assisted by the experimental approach he takes in the creation of all his works. By bringing to his studio an ever-changing set of raw materials, including paint, Hampton makes visual statements about the mutable reality which challenges and redeems the human spirit.
Hampton’s use of the analytic and scientific method visual spiritual statements makes him unique. Moreover, this approach has propelled him from figurative art from his days as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute to his recent abstract collages as Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University.
As a painter and a black American, Hampton is a pioneer. He has been the subject of many books, including Cedric Dover’s American Negro Art and Samella Lewis’ Black Artists on Art. The artist’s landscape and figurative arts respectively compare to works by well-known black American artists as Hale Woudroff and Robert Blackburn. As an art professor, Hampton has inspired artists. As an individual who divines the totality of being in the various realms of reality, Hampton is simply a great artist. (Text by Dr. John W. Nunley)