Artist who ‘doesn’t follow the rules’ brings paintings to life

Philip Sherman, who has Down syndrome, showcases his art at Leaside Library

Artist Philip Sherman
Philip Sherman's artist bench is located in his room, where he does some of his paintings. The desk is surrounded by hundreds of paintings and sketches. Jonathan Pereira/Toronto Observer

It was Julia Chmilnitzky,  an established artist, who made the push to feature Philip Sherman’s art at the Leaside Library.

“He is so creative,” she said. “Philip doesn’t follow the rules, and that is what actually leads to his creativity, whereas I’m more conscious of the rules.”

She should know. Philip is her son. The 44-year-old, who has Down syndrome, is showcasing his art at the library, which is commemorating the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities  by displaying eight paintings and seven architectural designs by Sherman. The exhibit is called Ability With Disability.

About 10 years ago, Sherman enrolled in a TDSB continuing education class at Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton. Toronto artist Jay Dampf took Sherman under his wing and pushed him to share his art with others.

His main focus is his paintings, where he enjoys drawing imaginary faces which are replicated throughout his work.

Sherman also creates architectural designs. He utilizes a metal ruler to meticulously draw them.

One of Sherman’s pieces resembles the Toronto Harbourfront and the surrounding docks.

Some of his paintings are done in a day, others take weeks. His architectural designs start off as straight lines, but as time progresses they form an intricate landscape.

Sherman is not always content with his work. His mother says she often finds herself fishing his art out of the trash.

He also expressed his excitement when painting. Sherman often derives some of his creativity from the horror films he watches. When his art is displayed, he “feels very happy and proud.”

Chmilnitzky advocates for Sherman’s art pieces and helps him with buying materials. From there, Sherman brings the canvas to life.

Some of Sherman’s paintings have sold for $150, and his pieces will be available for purchase at the event. While he isn’t focused on profit, “It would be nice for him to sell a couple paintings to retrieve the costs [of the paintings],” Chmilnitzky said.

His work has been exhibited at Sunnybrook Hospital, Hamilton’s Ben Navaee Gallery, and the Artusiasm Gallery. It has also travelled around the province, having been showcased in Espanola, Blind River and Elliot Lake.

Sherman’s exhibit will be at the Leaside Library through Dec. 31. He will be holding a meet and greet on Dec. 11, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

About this article

Posted: Dec 5 2018 2:21 pm
Filed under: News