TERESA C. PHILLIPS
My native country is Chile
where I lived and studied at the Liceo de Ninas in San Fernando, Chile,
South America. Here I studied sculpture which has always has been my
first interest as long ago as I can remember. I had my first miniature
sculpture show; exhibiting eighty pieces; all were sold in three hours.
I continued my education earning my teaching license in 1962. My first
assignment teaching was in the isolated city of Santa Fe, at the southern
end of Chile, South America which was to begin a major change in my
life. I met a young American Peace Corps volunteer who was stationed
in the same little town of Santa Fe. The young Peace Corps volunteer
saw my abilities and desire to carve in wood. She generously gave me
my first power tools. Even though the tools were only a drill, a few
bits, and a two inch carving set it meant more to me than any other
gift anybody could have given me.
I taught three years in Santa Fe but the friendship I developed with
the young Peace Corps volunteer was to change my entire life. It was
changed in this way. It brought me to America because a member of her
family offered to pay one half of my ticket fare to come to Oregon.
It was beyond my comprehension to arrive in a place as beautiful as
Oregon, with its great rocks jutting out from the beaches. Everything
was beyond what I had ever dreamed could happen to me.
In 1967 I attended the University of Oregon studying sculpture and Romance
Languages. While there my major professor, John Zaack, a Czechoslovakian
sculptor, instructed me in English and Spanish and at times in Portuguese
when frustrated with me…in those days I did not understand much
English. During this time at the University of Oregon my faculty advisor,
Ruth Jackson, made it possible for me to continue my ambition to be
a sculptor. I was having financial problems remaining there as a student
when Ruth Jackson offered me a place to live in her house. She was an
older woman of sixty five and told me her mother had just died, and
if I would help with domestic chores she would give me room and board.
I could not have continued without her help. I shall always be grateful
to my faculty advisor because without her help I could never have received
my BA degree in Sculpture and Romance Languages at the University of
During those years as one of the University of Oregon students, I was
enchanted with the subject of sculpture. I was sculpting stone, wood
carving, metal casting, welding, and drawing. I completed 45 credits
hours in the Master of Fine Arts, unfortunately, one class changed my
priorities: “History of the Western Arts” That subject motivated
me to become a well traveled soldier. I joined the United States Army
not planning or knowing I would be one of the first enlisted females
invading the sanctuary of the American male soldiers…Oh my God!
it was so arduous adventure to be one of the pioneers in the male dominated
territory. After twenty-one years of service as one of the first female
official photographers, I did retire as a Master Sergeant at the National
Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. At the present, those days
are engraved in the epic center of my memory.
Although, I had three college degrees, I could not enlist as an officer
due to my chronological age…I was too old! In my Army tenure I
had the opportunity to travel, in the United States, Europe, Africa,
and Asia. I visited the Louvre Museum four times as well as the Sistine
Chapel. Later in my Army career I was stationed in South Korea, this
gave me the opportunity to visit the Far East, Singapore, Hong-Hong,
Malaysia, and Taiwan. Also, on the African continent I was able to see
Cairo and Tunisia.
In 1973, when I enlisted in the United States Army, I was trained to
be a supply technician, but photography was my passion. I was able to
become an official Army photographer. Midway in my career, I was selected
and attached to Visual Information Center and the Graphic Media Division
at the Pentagon. It was there they took away my cameras in exchange
for a desk and a new assignment. I became the Photography Supervisor
in charge of the Photo Laboratory and 25 Photo Journalist Soldiers.
After seven years of this, my enthusiasm for the Art of Photography
diminished. I retired from the United States Army in November 1994 with
twenty-one years of service. “Hurrah”!!
In the Spring Semester of 2001, I was accepted into the MA of visual
studies (sculpture), a joint graduate program offered by Old Dominion
and Norfolk State University. During this time, my advisor, Professor
David Johnson, head of Old Dominion Photography Department, persuaded
me to study digital photography. I learned to accept that photography
has evolved and once again my passion revived. In May 2004, I graduated
from the joint program with a Master of Arts.
In 2007, at the age of 68, I haven fallen in love again with a new adventure
but as always with the same passion...... I am being introduced to glass
blowing at Tidewater Community College (TCC) attending as a senior citizen
and enjoying the heck out of it!
My art does not have state or a country boundary as well it
does not have a date or a time in history
it is for all times and all history.
I want to deal with the
present and perennial realities of our human conditions, using primarily
the sexuality symbols and the human figure depicting social situations
as well as inner thoughts and feelings I have as a mature women. We
all are conceived equally; we are all born with powerful needs for personal
relationships...our quality of life depend upon the love we share with
others, whether family, friends, partners or peers. Because of these
thoughts, I would like to depict our Society beyond the traditional
family, friendship, needs, and loneliness.
I want to establish that diversity of sexuality in our societies has
been always present...although hidden in the less courageous among us.
Through art I will try to convey to each of the viewers that equality
among humanity is the goal we all must seek since none of us is superior
to the other.
My symbols represent you; reach for them and start your own
family according to your needs and desires.
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