Art was not part of Philip Smallwood’s plan, but he is not here by mistake.
Smallwood is a New Jersey-based watercolor artist renowned for the ultra-realistic nature of his paintings. Working exclusively on handmade watercolor paper, he brings a unique texture and depth to his creations. Inspired by light and influenced by his
former profession as an artisan of fine furniture and architectural millwork, interior/exterior details are prominently featured in many of his captivating pieces, adding a unique dimension to his artistic vision.
Primarily known for his acclaimed works referred to as “Lifescapes” - portraying subjects within their natural environment, but with an emotive visual narrative - Smallwood powerfully connects the viewer and the subject, not with the casual glance of a stranger, but with the intimacy of a friend.
Growing up in Roxbury, Massachusetts Smallwood learned the art and discipline of creating high-quality, handcrafted furniture, studying the craftsmanship of his father. In the early days of his artistic journey, he found inspiration in the southern genre. With
many of his family members having migrated from Boston to the Carolinas and Florida, he naturally gravitated towards subjects that emerged from this rich cultural heritage.
Through his art, he explores the stories and traditions that have shaped these regions, capturing their essence with authenticity and reverence.
For more than 25 years Smallwood has been blending imagination, reality, and social consciousness to transform ordinary scenes into enduring narratives that embrace real people living real, honest, imperfect, and totally unrehearsed lives. Often referred to as
the black Norman Rockwell, Smallwood acknowledges the strong influences in his work, paying homage to his late brother, Fredrick Smallwood Jr., and renowned artists such as Andrew Wyeth, Thomas Eakins, and John Singer Sargent.
While producing about 10 -12 major works per year, Smallwood has many commissioned works in the private collections of prominent art enthusiasts, including corporate executives, celebrities and notable names in sports and entertainment. Smallwood has garnered widespread recognition and acclaim, earning
over 200 juried awards throughout his career, exhibitions in esteemed artistic venues, honors from the nation's most prestigious watercolor societies, and numerous features in art publications around the world.
Art enthusiasts can explore coffee table art book titled "Change the Narrative," featuring over 60 of America's top African American Artists, including Philip Smallwood himself.
Smallwood’s career is testament to his undying passion to create beauty with his hands and to deeply impact his community, with historic milestones for both him and African American artists in general.
honors and awards
Bergen County commission for the arts & bergen county executive, james tedesco
Artist of Impact Award
fairleigh dickinson university, school of the arts
2022-2023 Artist in Residence & Scholarship Funder
The Butler institute of American art
Dialogues with Reality: Paintings by P. Smallwood on exhibit December 26 - February 27, 2022
Featured Artist in June Issue
AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR
Featured Artist in Fall Issue
AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR
Featured Artist in May Issue
201 MAGAZINE - BERGEN COUNTY, NJ
Featured Artist in February Issue
ARTS DE LA PRATIQUE MAGAZINE - PARIS, FRANCE
Featured Artist in June Issue
14C ART FAIR - Jersey City, NJ
"Artist of the Day" Award
THE NATIONAL ARTS CLUB - GRAMERCY PARK SOUTH, NY
Accessible Art Fair
the museum of art - deland, fl
"Personages" a Solo Exhibit
2012 - 2015
A SERIES OF PRIVATE COMMISSIONED WORKS
CEO's in Corporate Organizations, Celebrities, Music, Entertainment, and sports.
HARLEM FINE ARTS SHOW (HFAS) "MARTHA'S VINEYARD"
August 9-12, 2012, Oak Bluffs, MA
watercolor artist magazine
Featured Artist in August Issue
the springfield art museum - watercolor now 2012
Exhibition show dates April - July - Springfield, Missouri
the watercolor honors society
Featured award winner in April
ARTS ISSUE - PEOPLE IN THE ARTS
Featured Artist in April Issue
NEW MILFORD AUXILIARY POLICE DEPARTMENT
Commissioned work of late Chief Andy Boele
cypress gallery - 3rd thursdays
Presenting 7-10pm each third Thursday of the month from April to September,
featuring "Art, Conversation & More" in New Milford, NJ
WATERCOLOR HONORS SOCIETY (WHS)
Inducted into the Honors Society in Watercolor USA in June. WHS is dedicated to focusing national attention on watercolor painting through exhibition, educational opportunities, and the recognition of artists working in watermedia.
THE FABRIC OF MY LIFE
Over 100 small portraits of friends and family that influenced Philip's career are included in this project of recent works.
FOCUS NJ - ART CENTER OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY
First place award for Watercolor - July
WATERCOLOR USA - 50TH EXHIBITION
In May, Philip was awarded the Robert Vickrey Memorial Award for "Redemption" at the Springfield Art Museum
in Springfield, Missouri.
the new smyrna beach art festival
Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) - New Smyrna, FL
UNCF - THE ART OF GIVING BACK
A vision created by Philip Smallwood as an art exhibition to raise funds to benefit the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). The inaugural event held in September at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. The works of contemporary emerging, mid-career and established artists were featured for this inaugural event.