Brantley Phillips is an artist, a pilot, an outdoorsman, a lover of fine food and a gourmet cook, a happily married man with a terrific wife, and a really friendly guy liked by a lot of people, including me. He gets a lot out of life and he gives a lot back. In my next few blog posts I'll be writing more about him and showing more pictures. In this post I want to tell you about his love of flying and show you a bit of his aircraft art.
"Thank you [says Brantley]! Although I really don't know if I'm much of an outdoorsman ... to tell you the truth my favorite outdoor activity is slow-cooking barbecue ribs while smoking a cigar.
"I used to do these pictures after I hung up my wings and became a dispatcher for the company I flew Medevac for. I worked the night shift, which I loved, being a night owl...but you'd go for hours with nothing happening so I'd bring my art stuff and draw these pictures in the wee hours. I wasn't looking at real aircraft for my models, unfortunately, just pictures of airplanes off the internet, but it was great fun and a most rewarding way to pass the time."
Brantley and his wife live in Alaska now, but they started out in the "Lower 48." In his first year of college Brantley attended the University of Georgia but he had always loved airplanes and got his private pilot's license in his senior year of high school, so when he learned that you could major in airplanes at Florida Institute of Technology he transferred there after his freshman year.
After graduation he moved back to his home state of South Carolina and worked at a few aviation jobs. "I got to fly turboprops, teach others how to fly, loved it all." He got married and he and his wife decided to move to Alaska where Brantley got a job as a copilot on a Lear jet flying Medevac patients from small towns to Anchorage for medical care. "For three years I got to see every inch of Alaska, from Ketchikan to Barrow to the tip of the Aleutian chain, I got to see it all. I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world."
Eventually, however, he realized he'd seen everything he wanted to see and decided he wanted something with a better schedule. He is now working at a desk job and "happy I get to sleep in my own bed at night and I don't get called out to fight blizzards on some remote island at 3 a.m."
Final approach to the small island town of Sitka in Southeast Alaska.
To be continued. (More on Brantley and more pictures in my next post.)
January post on Brantley's art workspace.