CHRONOLOGY JOHN KENNETH PHILLIPS
Hokusai had been called the ‘old man mad about drawing’ and Ken requested this for his memorial.
Born April 20, Toronto, Ontario
1922 received a scholarship to attend O.C.A. Saturday morning classes, where Arthur Lismer taught composition and drawing, and C.W. Jefferys taught drawing from the model (“costume drawing”). Although there were no classes in landscape work or oil painting, Ken taught himself these and on weekends went on sketching trips with his friend and fellow artist David Battersby (later Art Director at Macleans). Later, Ken attended O.C.A. night classes, where his teachers included Arthur Lismer, J.E.H.MacDonald, and Emanuel Hahn (the first one to tell Ken he had drawing ability).
He began work at Eaton’s as an office boy and gradually was allowed to do some commercial drawing for them.
1927 Received O.C.A. scholarship in Advanced Evening Class.
1928 Received a scholarship from Eaton’s to attend O.C.A. in the afternoons, following his morning duties at Eaton’s
Fall ‑ He met Marie Cecilia Guard while she was posing for an O.C.A. costume class.
‘Deserted’ exhibited by Canadian Society of Graphic Art, Toronto.
1929 Feb.‑ Attended O.C.A. masquerade ‘King Arthur and his Court’ with Marie and their photos in costume appeared in the Toronto newspapers.
Mar. ‑ Two of Ken’s paintings, ‘Cliff Top’ and ‘Overhang’ were exhibited by O.S.A. at Art Gallery of Toronto.Spring ‑ Received his third year certificate from O.C.A. less one subject;
Fall ‑ attended O.C.A. art classes at night.
1930 Jan. ‑ With Marie to New York to study art
April 22 ‑ Married Marie Cecilia Guard; walking tour return from New York to Toronto;
May ‑ Working as a free-lance commercial artist to support them, Eaton’s and Simpson’s gave him some contract work;
Aug. ‑ Worked on a booth display mural at C.N.E., involving botany, but was subsequently fired due to a dispute involving methodology. Mar. ‑ O.S.A. exhibited ‘Invalid’ at Art Gallery of Toronto
May ‑ Color photograph of the painting featured in Toronto Star Weekly
1932 After completing some contract work for Simpsons in conjunction with their centennial celebration, Ken accepted a full time position as a commercial artist in their advertising department; as a result, Ken made a sufficient salary for the couple to rent a one room apartment on Bay St. and they were able to begin working at home, using each other as models;
Mar. ‑ O.S.A. exhibits ‘Tanker’ and ‘Flooding Ice’ at the Art Gallery of Toronto;
Oct. ‑ Moved to Charles Street, Toronto; continued to attend O.C.A evening classes.
1934 Dec. ‑ R.C.A. exhibits ‘Marie Cecilia Guard’;May ‑ Ken’s ‘Nude With Daffodils’ shown at Non‑Jury exhibition C.N.E., reviewed by Globe and Mail critic Pearl McCarthy
1935 Mar. ‑ O.S.A. exhibits ‘Miss Margot Guard’;
Aug. ‑ ‘Introspect'(wood engraving) and ‘Dance'(wood engraving) shown at C.N.E.; ‘Introspect’ purchased by the Art Gallery of Toronto (now A.G.O.); C.N.E. ‘Nude’ (oil), ‘Still Life’ (oil);
Nov. ‑ ‘Self‑Portrait’ (with mirror) exhibited by R.C.A. at Art Gallery of Toronto;
1936 Mar. ‑ O.S.A. exhibits ‘Votaress’;
Aug. ‑ ‘Book Plate for Marie Cecilia Guard’, ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘River Edge’, three graphic works shown at C.S.G.A., C.N.E.;
– Attended life class with Marie at Tom Green’s studio on Grenville Ave., Toronto.
1937 Ken and Marie camped on land they purchased at Harborn Road
May 24 – October (later was 182 Harborn Trail), Cooksville (Mississauga), returning to their Charles Street apartment for the winter.
Mar 12 ‑ Moved permanently to Harborn.
1939 Ken and Marie attended evening teacherless life classes at O.S.A.;
Sept.‑Ken’s wood engraving ‘Introspect’ (lent by A.G.O.) was exhibited by the Canadian Society of Graphic Art at the World’s Fair, New York.
1942 Mar. ‑ O.S.A. exhibited ‘Orchard’ at Art Gallery of Toronto, and the work was sold.
1943 Exhibited at Trinity Church Art Show, first Port Credit Anglican Church, an art exhibition to raise funds for war effort.
1944 Nov. ‑ South Peel Art Exhibition, Port Credit.
1945 April‑ wins Merchant award for best ad of the week with Dorothy Frey, store advertising department copywriter, and Ira Reid, advertising layout artist.
1947‘Introspect’ from Art Gallery of Toronto collection exhibited at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
1958‑1961 Teaching adult night school art classes.1960 Port Credit Library show.
1964 Feb ‑ Port Credit Library show.
April ‑ Ken’s drawings of Shea’s Hippodrome, reproduced with article Toronto Daily Star.
May ‑ Ken made his first and only solo trip to England – (London and Minehead).
Sept. ‑ ‘Toronto that Was and London that Is’ exhibition for Ken and Marie at Toronto Central Library;
Sept. ‑ Ken’s drawing of Toronto house reproduced in column in Toronto Daily Star
1965 Ken painted Markland Wood Golf Club mural;
K’s drawing of Henry St. Synagogue included in Hadassah Invitational Art Auction;
Nov. ‑ Port Credit Library show.
1966 Marie and Ken on sketching trip to England ‑ Minehead, Somerset, and Bath
1967 ‘Toronto’s Past as Seen by Ken Phillips’ Simpsons Treasure Gallery, Downtown.
1967 May on sketching trip to England, Paris, Amiens.
1968 Marie and Ken on sketching trip to Europe ‑ Folkestowe, Boulogne, Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, London.
1969 Marie and Ken on sketching trip to Europe ‑ Basle, Lugano, Belinzona, Airolo, Schwyz, Lucerne, Salisbury, Weymouth, Corfe, Swanage.
1960s (late) Ken exhibited at Toronto Arts and Letters club; proposed as a member but declined because of time commitment involved.
1970 A collection of Ken’s prints was bought and exhibited at the Lock and Key Room of the Toronto Dominion Centre, Toronto.
1971Marie and Ken on sketching trip to Europe: ‑ Le Touquet, Avignon, Amiens, Montpelier, London, St. Albans, Brighton, New Haven.
1973 Nov – Ken retired from Simpson’s.
1974 ‘City Street and Country Stream’ joint exhibition for Ken and Marie at Simpson’s Cedarbrae store. Ken was commissioned by Ted Burton to do pictures of Burton’s house to be used as Christmas cards.
1975 Marie and Ken on sketching trip to England and France one week in France, Amiens and Paris, three weeks in England, York, Brighton, Looe and Lewes, Cheltenham.
1978 Moved to Moscow, Ontario in April.
1981 Marie and Ken on sketching trip to Wales, London, England.
1983 May‑ Ken and Marie on sketching trip to Britain: Edinburgh, Tenby, Wales, Canterbury, London
June 23‑ Ken died of heart failure
For more information on Ken Phillips contact: Peri Phillips McQuay – email@example.com
Dear Peri Phillips Mcquay,
I knew your father Ken quite well. We met in 1962 constantly aboard the train that went from Port Credit to Toronto in the mornings and evening return trip. I was a student at Western Technical School in art & design course, in West Toronto,..and got off at the Sunnyside station with my friend Reid Kinear who went to Central Technical School in mid Toronto . We both where artist, and marvelled at your father Kens pen & ink drawings which he seemed to do endlessly. We talked art seldom but watched him draw fevourishly both to and from on the train. We watched His slightly chiseled pen nib doing black ink drawings on a small white pad that he’d clipped together on a board,..drawing people and places that interested him along the journey. He was always running to get to his bike and had his pant-legs bound to get off the train as fast as he could. If you want to share more about your dad, please connect with me and I’ll share more then. Best wishes, David Wick, Canadian Artist.
My mother Anne Marie Gauvin knew your mother when we lived in Miscow …she cleaned for your mom …she gave my mom a beautiful water color of daffodils in watercolor. We have cherished it!
Thank you so much for your message. I remember how much your Mom meant to my mother, who thought of her as a friend as well as a necessary help. Nothing would have pleased her more than to know her painting is appreciated.
I really appreciate your getting in touch.
All the best,