As It Was: Artist Mixes Aviation and Art for Unusual Career
William S. Phillips loved art and aviation. Growing up in Los Angeles, he often spent the day sketching aircraft.
Phillips’ love of flight led him to join the Air Force in 1963. Trained as a security police officer, he was stationed in the United States and Vietnam, where his night-duty posts allowed time to sketch during the day.
After discharge, he attended Southern Oregon University, majoring in criminal justice. He worked as a firefighter at the Ashland, Ore., Fire Station for 12 years and fought wildfires for four years.
Phillips never stopped pursuing his art. In 1971, four of his aviation paintings displayed at the Medford Airport sold immediately, convincing Phillips to work as a fine-art painter.
His accomplishments include a commissioned painting in 1973 for the U.S. Air Force Academy and a one-man show in 1986 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The Navy chose him as a combat artist in the Persian Gulf and King Hussein of Jordan commissioned a series of paintings. Phillips did artwork for U.S. postage stamps, and Phillips received recognition in the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor.
Sources: William S. Phillips. Advertisement. Wings Fine Arts, 2010, www.wings-fine-arts.com/Artists/William-S-Phillips.html; Phillips, William S. William Phillips, Artist. 2019, Artifacts Gallery, Cambria, CA. https://www.artifactsgallery.com/art.asp?!=A&ID=614; “The Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor William S. Phillips 2013." Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, Evergreen Aviation, 2013, www.evergreenmuseum.org/oregon-aviation-hall-of-honor. www.artifactsgallery.com/art.asp?!=A&ID=614.