A native of the Diablo Valley near San Francisco, Phil Beck now resides in Roseburg, Oregon.  When not working in a metal shop, he enjoys flying kites, playing Frisbee golf and riding fast motorcycles fast.

As with so many artists, an early life experience sparked Phil’s interest in metal work. Around the age of 10, his father took him   to the local blacksmith shop to get an item fixed. “It was a big old barn-like building, with lots of sparks flying, loud banging and clanking, and big things getting worked on. There was a guy pounding on red hot material heated in the forge and beating it into shape…and he let me watch! That was the day that started it for me.”

In high school, Phil began working in the metal shop in earnest, making some “pretty wacky stuff”. Although he loved the work, he decided not to pursue making metal art out of financial concerns and doubt of his talent. Instead he became a metal fabricator, eventually owning his own company for 10 years before moving to Ukiah and then Oregon.

“I’ve been fabricating for a few big metal shops in Eugene and one of them had a big “burn table” where they would cut all their metal parts to build large industrial systems. I walked past the scrap bin without noticing it much. Then one day…I noticed this piece that had some really nice curves. It took looking at it three times before I finally pulled it out. That piece turned into the Hanging Wind Catcher, which is still one of the most popular pieces I make, and one of my favorites. After that nothing was safe, there was great joy in passing the scrap bin and going, oooh, there’s a cool piece.”


If Phil has any regrets, it is that he didn’t take pictures of his work in high school and that he didn’t continue making “wacky art” when he was young. He continues working with metal both as a commercial fabricator and as an artist. “…I don’t do the art as a sole means of support, but it’s sure a lot more fun than my day job! That means I don’t have to sell a piece, which keeps it fun!”