Philip Briel was raised on a sugar farm in a remote area of Northern Kwazulu Natal and graduated in architecture from the University of Cape Town. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia and has traveled extensively in Africa, and South and North America.
Philip is currently splitting his time equally between painting; a relatively newfound passion, and his very successful architectural and Interiors practice. He paints from a new studio in Higgovale with the amazing view of the city and mountain as his inspiration.
His abstract mixed media canvasses are inspired by his love for environment, both natural and man built, and he enjoys the cross between the discipline of architectural design and the freedom of modern painting.
His works are full of intense shades, fractured or spilling light, charged textures. Artist Philip Briel sets out to capture the episodic and fragmentary, the subtler energies driving nature.
You think about windswept beaches, tidal estuaries, and phoenix fynbos: in short, freedom. The work is suggestive with an elusive quality: attention to nuance is what Briel is all about. His abstract mixed media canvases are inspired by a fierce sense of place.’ I’m not into iconic mentors. I started out in architecture, a disciplined and exacting profession in which you have to learn to visualise dimensions and do an enormous number of calculations.
Art opened me up to different possibilities. Now I look at planes and elevations as if they are the surface of a canvas, shifting and fluid, not fixed. As in the art, my design work now is all about freedom, mobility, and uncluttered spaces.
Sometimes I work on a canvas just erasing and editing down. The alchemy of the moment is decisive.'
He has three daughters: Mira, Sofia and Gita.