Phil Gray was born in 1983 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As a child Gray was keenly interested in drawing and “always wanted to be an artist.” In the summer of 1998, he joined several other young people in assisting the Coast Salish artist Gerry Sheena to carve a totem pole. Although he was only fifteen years old, Gray realized right away that he was meant to do this sort of work. So began a long process of self-education, starting with an apprenticeship with Sheena.
Although still a very young man at the dawn of his career, Gray has established himself as one of the most interesting carvers working today. He continues to challenge himself and expand his horizons, as with his current study of jewelry. Deeply respectful of the past, Gray is also keen to move his art into the future. He wants to do “something massive, things that exhibit my design, a large chest or box, a box drum or a house front”. If the past is any indication of what is to come, we can expect exceptional work.
--Excerpts from the book: Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast, by Ian Thom.