Works in the Collection
Phillip Hampton was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1922. He served in the Army during World War II, and upon his return, studied art at Drake University. He then earned a BFA in illustration from Kansas City College in 1951, and in 1952, he was the first African American to earn an MFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. That same year, he began teaching art at Savannah State College, playing an instrumental role in the development of the school’s art program. He relocated to Southern Illinois University in 1969, and taught painting, printmaking, and design, as well as writing, lecturing and curating exhibitions in the wider community.
Hampton’s early work included figurative paintings and street scenes, but in the 1960s and 70s, his work shifted to abstraction, which he found enabled him to best explore his philosophical interests and ideas. He enjoyed experimenting with materials and techniques, often using paint, collage, drawing, decals, and shaped canvases to create his abstract compositions.
Hampton’s long career as an educator culminated with his retirement from Southern Illinois University in 1992, after which he was honored with the title Professor Emeritus. He continued to paint, and his work was shown in a solo exhibition at Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis in 2005. He died in 2016.