Hubert Phipps | Race Car Driver, Aviator, Artist

From a media release:

Hubert Phipps | Race Car Driver, Aviator Artist

American sculptor and painter Hubert G. Phipps' recent Miami show was a sensation. Here's a deeper dive into this intriguing artist. 

The work of Hubert Phipps on display in Miami
Hubert Phipps work on display in the Miami Design District in 2022

Hubert G. Phipps (born November 1, 1957) divides his time between Middleburg, Virginia, New York City, and Palm Beach. Phipps draws on his racing and aviation experiences to develop a distinctive style. 

Known for his paint pigment drawings and abstract sculptures, Phipps experiments with various forms and materials, including steel, bronze, wood, composites, plaster, glass, and marble. He was also a race car driver and is a member of the Phipps family.

Hubert Phipps

His works are featured in the permanent collections of museums, institutions and private collectors, including: Tufts University Art Galleries (MA); Boca Raton Museum of Art (FL); Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (CO); Harn Museum of Art (FL); Georgia Museum of Art (Athens, GA); Coral Springs Museum of Art (FL); and the Flint Institute of Arts (MI) which recently selected Paradise, the monumental bronze sculpture by Phipps, where the 1.5 ton, 9-foot-tall work is currently on view.

His work has been exhibited at the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden in West Palm Beach, the New York Studio School, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, TW Fine Art, the Center for Creative Education in West Palm Beach, Fritz Gallery, MM Fine Arts Gallery in Southampton, New York, Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, Florida, and Gallery 1608 in West Palm Beach. 

Lava Flow, the sculpture by Hubert Phipps (multimedia)
Lava Flow, the sculpture by Hubert Phipps (multimedia)

Phipps’ monumental sculpture “Rocket” was recently selected for an art in public places initiative in Palm Beach County, spearheaded by the Boca Raton Museum of Art. “Rocket” is valued at $1.5 million, stands 30-feet tall, weighs 9.8 tons, and took more than 2,200 square feet of stainless steel to construct.    

The sculpture towers alongside a waterfront panorama of iconic architecture designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1960s, at Boca Raton Innovation Campus, the historic tech landmark where the world’s first personal computer and the first smartphone were invented.

(Watch the dazzling aerial video of the Rocket sculpture below.)

Phipps has many approaches to drawing, including reference photos that he makes on long, cross-country flights and automatic drawing. He lets his subconscious guide the pen or brush until the work takes on a life of its own.

A significant influence on Phipps’ work comes from the view he gets while piloting his aircraft. He amasses photographic images on these trips that are used as reference for sculpture, paintings, and drawings.

Voyager, the sculpture by Hubert Phipps (cast stainless steel)
Voyager, the sculpture by Hubert Phipps (cast stainless steel)

Born in Virginia to Lady Phoebe Pleydell-Bouverie and Hubert Beaumont Phipps, Phipps started drawing at an early age. He developed skills as an illustrator, initially transcribing political cartoons. 

He attended Deerfield Academy. At Deerfield, Phipps discovered a passion for flying, something that he would continue throughout life. Since the age of 16, he has logged more than 4,000 hours as a pilot-in-command in both rotorcraft and fixed wing. 

Momentum, by Hubert Phipps (paint pigment on paper)
Momentum, by Hubert Phipps (paint pigment on paper) 

He is the cousin of sculptor Susan Phipps Cochran. He was part of the Art Students League of New York at the age of 17, and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute before pursuing a career as a professional racecar driver.

From 1979 to 1985, Phipps turned in solid performances in racecar driving, including winning the SCCA Formula Atlantic National championship, driving a Ralt RT4 powered by Ford.

He achieved wins in the Formula Atlantic Professional series at Willow Springs, California in 1984, and again in 1985. His professional teammates included Danny Sullivan at Garvin Brown Racing in 1982 and Michael Andretti at Ralt America in 1983.

Sky Temple, the sculpture by Hubert Phipps (cast stainless steel)
Sky Temple, the sculpture by Hubert Phipps (cast stainless steel)

After retiring as a professional driver, Phipps turned his focus to art again. In 2001, he enrolled in IFAC in Miami to study computer animation, with additional training at Escape Studios in London.  

His interest in animation was specifically to learn how to model forms in the computer as reference for sculpting objects.

In 2002, Phipps participated in Graham Nixon's drawing marathon at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. It opened his ability to work in large-scale.