Born in 1983, Philip is a young artist who began learning how to carve at the age of fifteen under the direction of Salish artist Gerry Sheena. Although as a child Gray was not overly exposed to Tsimshian works of art, he has worked increasingly hard over the years to incorporate the unique design elements of the Tsimshian style into his current practice.
Gray has assisted in the carving of three totem poles, which now stand in various locations of Vancouver. During his first couple years of practice he only carved during the summer months, while working on community development projects. Since then, Gray has become more focused and has worked hard to improve his carving skills and knowledge by studying Tsimshian carving as well as taking an advanced design course by Robert Davidson. His work has been influenced by carvers such as David Boxley, Robert Davidson, and Don Yeomans.
As quoted from the exhibition Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2 (2005) at the New York Museum of Art and Design:
“… now that I am doing it [carving], I could not see myself doing anything else. My only hope is to continue to progress in my work and to bring Tsimshian art to another level.”
Philip has donated many of his designs and carvings to First Nations communities and the Lac Kaien Tsimshian Dance Group, of which he is an active member. His artwork can be found both in local galleries and international locales, including Malaysia, Poland, China, the United States, and Canada. In recent years Philip has travelled to Asia and has been greatly influenced and fascinated by the culture, language, and the many similarities that bridge Asian and North American cultural themes. This strong connection has inspired many of his works and has resulted in his experimentation with these influences as a means of pushing the boundary of traditional Tsimshian design.
2012 Cranmer + Gray, Dual Artist Exhibition, Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2009 Challenging Traditions, Group Exhibition, McMichael Canadian Art Gallery. Kleinburg, ON.
2009 Continuum: Vision and Creativity on the Northwest Coast, Group Exhibition, Bill Reid Art Gallery. Vancouver, BC.