P.E.I. artist Carl Phillis dies at 61
'Carl was a real artist in the truest sense. He didn't do it for money. He did it for love'
Island artist Carl Phillis has died at the age of 61.
According to his obituary, Phillis died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday. He leaves behind his parents and two children.
Phillis was a potter and sculptor, with installations sprinkled about Charlottetown. Many of them are abstract sculptures that feature painted pieces of machinery, metal and ceramics.
Friend Gus Hillstrom believes Phillis' last installation was for a historic Charlottetown property that he used to own.
"He used to walk by every day on his way down to Confederation Landing where I used to play Frisbee," Hillstrom said of how the pair met.
"A lot of days we were stopping, have great conversations and he was asking me about what was going on with me."
Honouring a P.E.I. inventor
At the time, Hillstorm was renovating and restoring the property at 66 Prince St. which was originally built by Watson DuChemin.
DuChemin was a builder and inventor in the 19th century. His most famous inventions are the egg-carton and a type of roller bearing blocks. He also built several organs on P.E.I., including the one used at the Indian River Church.
Hillstrom said the story of DuChemin inspired Phillis to create a sculpture in honour of the inventor. Using various materials from the property on Prince Street and some of his own materials, Phillis installed the piece on the property's lawn last month.
Hillstrom said Phillis titled the piece A 19th Century Story in the 21st Century.
"He didn't want any money for it. He just wanted the people to have it and I said 'why do you do this Carl?' He said 'the reason why I do this is for two reasons. I do it for the Lord and I do it for the people.'"
Work was 'always colourful. They make you happy'
Hillstrom said he didn't know Phillis as well as others but that he "was such a lovely, lovely man."
"When I learned last night that he passed away, I said 'I need to help tell his story and draw attention to this beautiful piece,'" he said.
Though much of Phillis' work was abstract, "they're always colourful. They make you happy," Hillstrom said.
Some of Phillis' other work can be found on Richmond Street across from Trinity United Church, Confederation Landing and The Charlottetown Farmer's Market.
Hillstrom said it was easy to sum up Phillis' legacy.
"Carl was a real artist in the truest sense. He didn't do it for money. He did it for love and I think that shines through in his work."
A service will be held for Phillis at the MacLean Funeral Home's Swan Chapel on Saturday Dec. 7 at 11:00 a.m.
Will miss Carl's presence, he was a kind and interesting person. I have a beautiful large bowl of his that I enjoy. Sad day but it brought me back to your wonderful site Ian. Such a treasure to document the creative work of all these pottery folk.Thank you.
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