Meet San Diego based artist and designer Philip Boelter. He is an artist who is not tied down to one set of materials, software, or subject. With the aim of making things beautiful not only to him but for everybody else, his colorful art has been captivating and taking over social media like a storm. I’m glad I had an opportunity to ask him about his inspirations, goals, and struggles. Read our interview below.
Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Did you always have an interest in art?
Hi, I’m Philip Boelter. I’m a designer and artist in San Diego, California. I always loved art. I remember being envious of a childhood friend that was going to a local art studio. A couple of years later, my mother decided to enroll me into that art studio. I think I was seven years old. As I got older, I stuck with art classes through high school and college. I received my BA in Advertising from San Diego State University and my BFA from Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
What is your most favorite part of the art that you create? What are your goals for your art?
I like creating art that inspires others to paint or illustrate. The most satisfying part is when people message me that they tried one of my “how to’s” or when they say they were inspired to paint again. One of my biggest goals with my art is to complete my first “how to paint and illustrate flowers and botanicals” book. I’m in progress working and painting it right now, and it should be done soon. I’ve also always been eager to keep up with the art community by participating in art shows as much as possible.
What inspires you to do what you do? Where do you get your ideas/inspirations?
I am inspired by a lot of artists. I like seeing their passion and drive through their Instagram. It makes me push myself harder and continue what I love to do. I am also inspired by the outdoors. I love botanical gardens, the beach, and parks.
The unusual flowers and the cactus that you rarely see around the town always inspires me to research more types of plants.
As an artist did you have any struggles, and if you did how did you overcome it?
My largest struggle was sharing my art. I rarely shared my art with anyone. Usually, I’d complete a painting and put it away. Once I decided to add my work to my Instagram, I noticed people liking it and commenting how much they loved the work. Then, people started to purchase my art.
I am still in awe when people purchase my work. It’s the best feeling because it shows that they truly love the work.
You have a pretty large following on social media. It must be gratifying to know that there are so many people interested in your art. How long did take you to grow your following? Were you ever concentrated on the numbers?
I started posting my work on Instagram in January 2015 as a way to showcase my portfolio for my design and freelance work. It gradually moved into lettering and eventually made its way into painting and illustration. I was concentrated mostly on numbers in the beginning. I remember my first post that received 100 likes. I remember the first time I got 1000. And I remember when I got the “K.” As I hit more and more milestones, the less I concentrated on numbers. I think 1 million would be the next large milestone, but because that is a bit far off for me right now, I don’t really think about it.
One of my favorite YouTuber’s, Casey Neistat had a recent video about his milestones. He mentions that his 10 million followers weren’t as hard to get as his 1 million followers, and his 1 million followers weren’t as hard as his 100 thousand followers, and those 100 thousand weren’t as hard as his 10 thousand, and those 10 thousand weren’t as hard as his first 1000. – I love that.
What has been the happiest moment in your career so far? The saddest moment?
My solo show. Early this year, I had a solo art show at the Suite 6 Gallery in Manhattan Beach, California. There was a lot of work that goes into a solo show because you have to fill more wall space. More art means more frames. More frames mean more to hang on the wall. It was an amazing experience, but the hardest part was the show itself. I love talking to people and love talking to people that are there to see me. A lot of friends, family, and people came out to the show but it was tough trying to talk to everyone. I can’t really think of a sad moment. There have been times where I’ve ruined pieces of art by accident. Those are always sad moments.
What should every aspiring artist (who perhaps wants to sell his/her artwork online) know about creating art to sell?
Create the art that you love and just put it out there. Create a website, an Instagram, a blog, a facebook, an Etsy shop, etc. I try and place my art everywhere I can. I have art on Society 6 and Redbubble. I post on Pinterest a lot these days. I like Pinterest because you can link either to your Instagram or your website. Sometimes it gets pins, other times it doesn’t. But it’s just putting your art out there in this digital world that will do the work for you. I like creating art that doesn’t feel like work for me.
If I feel like I’m working hard to create a piece, or if I’m stressed out about a piece that just can’t get done – then I stop trying to complete it and move on.
If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of aspiring artists what would it be? Maybe something that you have learned as an artist?
If you’re an aspiring artist, I’ll assume you’re already creating art – so other than getting your work out into the digital world, my advice is to go to art shows and talk to other artists. You’ll come across people that have egos, artists you love, and others that will one day become your friends. Then, seek out and apply to art shows around your city.
As you begin doing art shows, you’ll recognize those other artists you’ve met at the shows, and you’ll start to become friends. You’ll help build each other up and get in the know of other events that may arise. But the best thing about it is that you are putting yourself out into your community and interacting with people in real life.