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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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  • “Dance”Dance

    Photographic microcosm of a Sculptural Enamel Painting on canvas with hand-applied UV polymer resin 14.625"h x 22"w or 30"h x 45"w Closed series of 100

Phyllis Toburen

  • Art
  • Design
I am an Art Professional I am a Design Professional

My Sites

artist bio

I believe our lives become a portrait of our unique personal experiences. My high school years coincided with the transition from the rock and roll music of the 1950’s to the beginning of classic rock music. The initial American tours of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones linger in my memory as the first live rock concerts I ever attended. Woodstock Music Festival took place during the summer after my junior year in college; Rolling Stone magazine published their inaugural issue my sophomore year of college. The Vietnam War raged and my generation joined together in protest. A worldwide social and cultural upheaval began which I saw, felt, understood, and absorbed firsthand. Events, feelings, and the unity within my generation will be chronicled forever through rock music.

I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. My senior year concluded with the National Guard stationed on campus to contain student antiwar protests. I analyzed my experiences from college and internalized a perspective of society that I wanted to express through visual art in the same way that singers/songwriters excite listeners through words, instrumentation and melodies. After taking art classes at six different universities, I became a couture fashion designer creating unique embellished evening gowns for art patrons and the sophisticated elite. A natural, creative progression led to exploration of a different genre: painting.

In my studio, time, deadlines, and responsibilities must disappear for my individuality, energy, and ingenuity to triumph. The mood, rhythm and ideology of rock music compel me to paint a new artistic language. Self-knowledge dictates that I must express through creation as opposed to recreation. Independent and free by nature, I explore only uncharted artistic territory. Hopefully, my new language will engage a viewer in a dialogue between my artwork and personal identity. My art ignites human imagination, a place where boundaries and restrictions do not exist. To me, this embodies true freedom. True freedom emancipates my soul.


artist statement

If it exists in nature, why augment?
I cannot perfect nature.

If it has been done before, why duplicate?
I want to create my own artistic reality.

My life experiences have been diversified and spiritual. What I express in my art embodies my autobiography.

Time does not exist. All that exists is my own consciousness, raw emotions, thoughts, and the materials.

When I am told something cannot be done, I interpret that as a challenge to prove I can do it.

In art, there is no right or wrong—only limitless opportunities abound.

My art exists to be enjoyed by everyone, but I do not need an audience to be fulfilled.

I once read that if you are born with the creative gift of being an artist, your life’s course is predetermined; you will never be happy doing anything else.

I believe this to be true.