Philip Carey

 Carey’s work, including original Dream Drawings, Dream Books, Illustrated Envelopes, and Illustrated Post Cards, is sold at these art outlets.

The Gallery of Dreams, Saint David
Dragonfly Gallery, Tucson

Coalesce Bookstore, Morro Bay
Just Folk, Summerland
Olive Tree Fine Arts, Atascadero
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo
Dr. Cain's Comics,  San Luis Obispo
Smoobage, Morro Bay

Intuit Museum Shop, Chicago

Big Planet Comics, Bethesda

Art Reach of Mid-Michigan, Mt. Pleasant
East End Gallery, Marshall

Astro Zombies, Albuquerque

Desert Island, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Floating Comic World, Portland

Big Planet Comics, Vienna

Big Planet Comics


Solo Exhibitions

2014  “Blood Is Thicker Than Ink”, Morey Gallery. Art Reach of Mid Michigan, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
2014 “Dreams and Blood, New Works by Philip Carey”  Deer Run Art and Artifacts. Cambria, California
2013  “Illustrated Envelopes from a Long Distance Love Affair” Marshall US Postal Museum. Marshall, Michigan
2013  “Strange Dreams of a Strange Dreamer” East End Gallery and Studio. Marshall, Michigan
2012  “Graphic Dreaming”  San Lusi Obispo Museum of Art. San Lusi Obispo, California

Two Person Exhibitions

2012  “Capturing Dreams” With George Asdel. Gallery at Marina Square. Morro Bay, California

Juried Shows

2014 ArtPriz Grand Rapids, Michigan -Bridgewater Place

2014 ArtWalkCentral Art Reach of MidMichigan

2013  First Prize “Lost But Not Forgotten” 10”x10” show Bakersfield Museum of Art. Bakersfield, California (two entries accepted)
2011  Honorable Mention “California Invitational” Bakersfield Museum of Art. Bakersfield, California

About Philip Carey

The work of California artist Philip Carey can be described as being autobiographical, colorful, intricate, and strange - which describes the artist himself.  Carey lives in a cottage in the small fishing village of Morro Bay, California – a place he has loved since childhood. Here he has created an extensive cactus and succulent garden, and surrounds himself with his many collections of unusual objects that often find their way into his art such as “Thirty-five Years of Meeting Notes,” and “Ten Years Messages on Philip’s Voice Mail,” created from his many years of preserving doodles and useless information from meetings and phone messages. “Art in My Veins,” a life sized medical self-ortrait, is created from the ephemera of ten years of dealing with heart disease, cancer, kidney disease and other medical challenges. This piece was in a year-long exhibit, “The Big Hope Show” (2015/2016) at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  “The Epic Quest,” created in 2017, was created from 33 years of saved chocolate wrappers, and “One day I put my artwork in the trailer…,” completed in 2018, tells a true story of a cross country roadtrip. The piece is made from trash and ephemera collected during that 6,000-mile trip.

His art also consists of sketches and stories about his bizarre dreams that are drawn with ink and Prismacolor pencils on 3x5 Post-It notes and in larger 3D versions. The drawings have also been published in four volumes of Dream Drawing books.  Carey is not curious about the meaning of his dreams. “Dream analysis doesn’t interest to me at all. I just enjoy the fact that things are hiding somewhere in there and they just happen to come out some nights,” he says. 

Another art form is his postal art which depicts phobias, scenes from dialysis and medical procedures, landscapes, travel, the strange adventures of “Mini-Philip,” and detailed designs created on #10 envelopes with ink and Prismacolor pencils. Over four hundred of these complex pieces were created during his three-times-a-week (@ 5 hours each) kidney dialysis treatments prior to his much-celebrated kidney transplant in 2015. An important aspect of this art is that it must go through the mail and be received by his friend Linda Ferreira in Oregon. “Bandage Faces,” the actual ornamented and framed bandages gathered from his dialysis treatments, are expressive self-portraits that show the artist’s moods and feelings during his time on the dialysis machine.

During the 1960’s, Carey spent several years as a professional singer—touring the United States and Europe with a choral group that won three Grammys. He also traveled the country in a beat up VW bus with his friend comedian Steve Martin, and spent two years in Vietnam with the US Navy.  During these years he also received a BA in Exhibit Design from California State University, Long Beach. His forty-year career included being Exhibit Designer/Installer at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles; Director of Education followed by Curator of Exhibits at the Roberson Museum, in Binghamton, New York; and Exhibit Designer/Coordinator for California State Parks in Sacramento, California. 

Carey’s life-size sculpture, “Art in My Veins,” was exhibited for a year at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Maryland and in June, 2013 he won “Best in Show” in the “Lost But Not Forgotten” exhibit at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.  In 2014 he was designated an “ArtPrize” artist in Grand Rapids, Michigan and his newest large collage “One day I put my artwork in the trailer…,” won “The People’s Choice Award” in the invitational/juried show “Dimensions” at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in 2018.

Recent one person exhibits of his work include:

Upcoming shows include:  Illinois Central College Art Museum, East Peoria, Illinois; and Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, Illinois.

Carey’s work is carried by twenty museums, galleries and shops including The American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Maryland; Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, Illinois; Smoobage and Coalesce Book Store, Morro Bay, California; the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo, California; Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin; and the Ilulissat Art Museum, Ilulissat, Greenland. 

Quotes About the work of Philip Carey

"Carey's subconscious manifests into delightfully artistic tableaus, panels, and dreamscapes. When he's sleeping, he's actually hard at work!"
Steve Martin, Author of An Object of Beauty

"Philip Carey invites you to join him on an intimate expedition to his esoteric world. His small works examine big ideas internally and externally, exploring a diversity of subjects apropos life as we know and, as often as not, what we think we know about it.

"Carey's largely-existentialist artworks, which examine a host of serious and complex phobias with grace and whimsy, are produced on post-it notes, index cards, and envelopes. We are at once introduced to the insecurity and absurd desires of Carey, his confusing relationship with worlds real and imagined, and his interaction with society. 

"And the possibilities realized by the small, flat work are abundant indeed. Many of the pieces here are skillful and clever, a few are fabulous, combining interesting subject matter, independent thought and eccentricity at the highest levels. (Making art this size is trickier than it sounds, for it typically forces artists to be extremely economical with their ideas and materials.)"
Al Wildley, Professor of Art, Central Michigan University

"I have represented Philip Carey in my gallery for almost five years. I met him when he came to a show opening for another artist. He bought a painting and when he came back to pick it up he had a shopping bag with him. He asked if he could show some of his work to me and I said "of course." Well, he showed me a number of dream drawings and asked me if I had any interest in carrying them in my gallery. And my answer was 'Hell, yes!'

"Philip's drawings are interesting on so many levels. That he can remember his dreams is amazing. And the stories they each tell are quirky, sometimes surreal and always end with an unexpected and uncliched punchline. And his drawing style is spare, but still filled with information. The drawings just sort of stop you in your tracks.

"As I got to know Philip, I learned that the dream drawings were only the tip of the iceberg. There are his collections (1000 Ernst ties), his cactus garden installations, and do be sure to ask him about the doodles made during 35 years of museum administrative meetings.

"And I love the fact that his drawings are made from such workaday materials. Post-it notes, marking pen, Prismacolor pencils. No fuss, no muss, no pretense. For me the definition of a real artist is someone who's 'Just gotta make art' kind of like 'gotta dance'—there's no choice, there's no other way to live. And Philip is that person."
He's the real deal. 
Leslie Clarke Gray

"'I'm riding my goat down a trail in an extensive park.' So begins one of artist, musician and extraordinarily vivid dreamer Philip Carey's many dream accounts. The dream is one of a great many which Carey has recalled, written down, and then elaborately illustrated in as much detail as a Post-it note would allow. It's a narrative that, like many dreams, takes absurd ideas and attempts to stuff them in the structure of waking life, creating a sort of magical realist tableau that, sadly, many people never remember."
Anna Weltner, Arts Editor, New Times, San Luis Obispo
"Since I've known Philip, I've had more vivid dreams."
George Asdel, Artist

"Sigmund Freud and others involved with dream interpretation could have a field day with Philip Carey's current exhibits at two venues. His work largely consists of sketches and stories about his bizarre dreams."
Lee Sutter, Writer, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo 

"He knows his stuff and he will be proving it anew when he installs an exhibit of his own work in the San Luis Obispo Museum of art's McMeen Gallery. Be ready to spend some time - there will be a lot to see, plenty to read, and more questions than answers. It sounds like a circus and Philip Carey is the ring Leader. You can't help but wonder, is this man a little nuts? Where has his subconscious been traveling, and how does he remember all these vivid and wacky dreams.

"His nightly journeys are only a part of his interesting life story. Philip Carey travelled the country and Europe performing classical choral music, including singing on 3 Grammy award-winning albums. He was in the US Navy, served a stint in Viet Nam, and travelled the country in a banged up VW van singing with pal Steve Martin playing banjo. Mr. Carey has a taste for collecting art Deco vintage chocolate boxes, photographs and 1960's Ernst Ties. Maybe his dreams aren't that odd after all."
Muara C. Johnston, assistant director, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
"Simply put, Philip Carey's 'Art in My Veins,' bleeds art. A life-sized self-portrait wrought from the meds, IV's, decorated bandages and machines that together with his playful sense of humor kept Carey alive through a litany of illnesses that would have killed even a bull elephant. Carey's 'Art in My Veins' is a sculptural toast to life and hope, miraculously installed at the American visionary art Museum on the very day—September 18, 2015—that Philip Carey at last won his battle for what has now proved a most successful kidney transplant. A featured work in our 'The Big Hope Show,' Carey's 'Art in My Veins' inspired my essay on the 22 people who die each day waiting for an organ donor for every willing potential donor who comes forth. A rare triumph artistically speaking, 'Art in My Veins' inspired four museum visitors to gift one healthy kidney to total strangers. Philip Carey excels in the art of living, laughing, persistence and the wielding of art as honest and lively reflection of his own very remarkable life. The viewers of his art have taken that artistry and inspired step further."
Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, Founder/Director, American Visionary art Museum