What inspires you?

Is it walks in the forest? The beach? The mountains?

A trip to the museum?

A good movie in your chosen genre?

Every one of us is different and that is one of the best things about us human beings.

Of course right now going to a museum or a movie or such really isn’t that much of an option (at least for us). We haven’t gotten out much, but one thing we have been doing is venturing to the hardware stores since we are doing DIY stuff in the house. We hit Lowe’s, can mask and social distance with their 20 foot ceilings and our Tuesday night outings. (Not many people hit the hardware store on Tuesday night.) We get what we need for the jobs we are doing and then get back home.

Lowe’s Night (no he didn’t get the giant wrench)

But this last project, we wanted some doors for a pantry… and found out about an antique place, not really near us, but not too far.

Charles Phillips Antiques & Architecture is an out of the way, down a dirt road kind of place that apparently more people than we expected like to go to now. Still, it is not a small place by any means, in fact there are eight, large barns full of piles and piles of furniture and old pieces and parts of houses from New Orleans to places in Europe.

Charles Phillips

It is smashed full of cool and crazy stuff (definitely not the Lowe’s trip) It’s the kind of place you start off in one spot and forget where you saw that cool window frame you can’t really use for anything but just HAVE to have it, if you could find it again. Barn #4? Or was it #6? Dammit, now I have to retrace my steps.

Charles Phillips Carved Door


Charles Phillips Iron Arches

They refurbish old furniture pieces if they are able to and resell them or they pull pieces apart that are so disintegrated as they would never go back together and fix them up and rearrange them into consoles, bars and tables, etc.

Charles Phillips Door

Why do we find the old, the decayed, inspiring? Pieces and parts of a life and world gone, or is it just the splitting paint on an almost ruined window frame? A phrase comes to mind when I look at such things… Haunted by the Past… and I mean Haunted in a romantic, nostalgic sense.

Charles Phillips Torch

The Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania is another such place. As Vicki and I were going to PA for a wedding and a friend said we really had to venture over there and take pictures. (It seems many of our friends do this and after seeing their photos it was a must.) The place is not fully restored, thankfully, most of it is in various states of decay. Your thoughts and imagination can run wild with the lives that once had to live and some die there.

Eastern State Penitentiary

While in the area we also went to the Mutter Museum: of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Their description states “The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.” Much to my disappointment there was no photography allowed out of respect for the dead. I’m not sure how that works since they sell keychains, calendars and prints… but I think that actually answers the question 🙂

Cob Webs

We can go on and on with the death and decay that inspire us from Ancient Egyptian tombs to the the Terra-Cotta Armies of China to the Catacombs of Paris. Many of us make our vacation plans around these places.

Paris Catacombs

For me… it isn’t about death but about life. Memento Mori, we must all die but in remembering this we all must live our life to be all we can…. Memento Vitae.

The life that once was, that lived and that holds us together can be seen within all these things. What I draw is not meant to glorify the grotesque but to explore our humanity, our life.

We are all guardians of this one life, for all of us.…

So look for your inspiration in where ever you want to find it. Hopefully soon we will be able to get back to our museums and enjoy that hike in nature, but maybe a long lost barn or old abandoned house (be careful with those, some are unsafe) or a far off antique barn can get us through the next couple of months.

Charles Phillips – One can go anywhere with this many doors…