In Turbocharged Porsches, Artist Richard Phillips Finds a New Muse
On a balmy March afternoon in Manhattan, the artist Richard Phillips was breaking in the refurbished engine on his 1992 Porsche 965. Mr. Phillips, who is 6-foot-5, just missed scraping his head on the roofline of the white sports car.
“For me, the 1992 965 Turbo represents the apex of Porsche design before the 993 came in,” he said, referencing the internal designations of consecutive 911 models. “Those are completely out-of-control cars. I love the car because there’s no safety net in it. It’s a great car to learn in.”
Mr. Phillips is making new paintings for a solo exhibition coming this fall at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. Having recently taken up photography and filmmaking, he has been able to channel his interest in sports cars into his career. For the December issue of Elle magazine, he shot an editorial spread that featured the fashion model and television host China Chow posing with Mr. Phillips’s white Porsche and another 1992 Porsche belonging to his friend, the curator Neville Wakefield. “We brought the cars to Studio 59 on the West Side, brought them up in the freight elevator and worked with China to create this set-up,” he said.
In another experiment, he directed the short film “Sasha Grey,” in which the former pornographic actress drives a Lotus Evora along Mullholland Drive in Los Angeles. For the cover of Lotus magazine, he painted Ms. Grey in profile behind the wheel of the Evora. The cover was accompanied by a 16-page spread and an interview between Mr. Phillips and the author James Frey. Lotus loaned Mr. Phillips an Evora S to play with for the remainder of the year.