Beyond the Gallery: Navigating Philip Colbert's Lobster-filled Universe


Philip Colbert at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

Renowned British artist Philip Colbert presents his latest artwork at Whitestone Gallery Taipei from October 21 to December 2, 2023. Based in London, Colbert seamlessly blends contemporary digital culture into art history, interweaving classical themes with symbols of today's consumer society—all viewed through his Lobster alter ego.

Join us as we explore Colbert's takeover of Taipei, exploring the surreal themes of his exhibitions, and the global resonance of his artwork. This article takes you on a brief yet captivating journey through the imaginative realm of the lobster, guided by our exclusive interview with the artist.

The Lobster's Evolution: From Childhood Fascination to Artistic Persona

Philip Colbert at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

Philip Colbert's artistic journey is intricately woven with his iconic lobster persona. Colbert, known for creating the cartoon "Lobster," has garnered a global fanbase with his refined pop aesthetic in historical paintings, actively engaging with contemporary digital culture.

Colbert claims, "I became an artist when I became a Lobster," encompassing the transformative connection between his Lobster persona and artistic identity. The Lobster, Colbert's alter ego, is not just a separate persona but a vehicle for, adding a unique dimension to his artistic evolution.

Philip Colbert and Miracle Coffee Neihu collaborate

- For you, what does the concept of a lobster represent? With the evolution of your alter ego, the lobster, over time, have there been any changes in your relationship with the current lobster?

Philip: Lobsters have always seemed like aliens from another planet. As a kid, I was fascinated by them.

The process of becoming a lobster as an artist unfolded in stages. Beyond my childhood obsession with the species, I was drawn to their symbolic value. The iconic impact of lobsters on historical culture, particularly in surrealism, and its symbolic status as a memento mori—from the Dutch still life period to the ancient Pompeii mosaics—all shaped my artistic journey.

Initially, I depicted the lobster as an icon of surrealism. My creations, including doodles, paintings, clothes, and accessories, became a means of conveying a distilled message of surrealism in a visually accessible way. Over time, people started associating me with the symbol, and I gained the moniker 'the lobster guy.'

When I began working on my first painting show in 2017, facing the idea of self in the studio, it felt now apparent that I should embrace my already established persona as the lobster guy and, as an artist, fully become a lobster. At that point, I started drawing my self-portraits as a more personified lobster character.

Things quickly evolved. I immediately felt a profound metaphysical connection to my character's ability to traverse time and engage with art historical content. It allowed me to access a multi-layered dimension where all time coexists simultaneously. To walk on the stage of artistic dialogue.

Philip Colbert at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

"Journey to the Lobster Planet - Taipei": Battles and the Future of Art

PHILIP COLBERT: Journey to the Lobster Planet - Taipei

Colbert's "Journey to the Lobster Planet - Taipei" reimagines art history within the sci-fi landscape of the lobster planet, depicting Lobster tribes battling for the planet's future Often elevated with a fisheye effect in a circular canvas, these works have a comic book iconography, and look to capture the tension between forces which is at the heart of life itself.

- In the exhibition at Taipei, lobsters engage in battles over the future of the planet. Could you provide more details about the theme of this exhibition?

Philip: As my work has evolved, exploring the future has become crucial for my character, particularly in the intricate relationship between creation and predetermination. I expressed these ideas through my first comic book, which was my way of pushing this idea. This work is essentially a comic book biography narrating the transformation of a boy into a lobster artist. It intertwines various threads of lobster mythology and historical artifacts, unveiling a heightened understanding of lobster intelligence and influence. The narrative climaxes with the revelation of an advanced lobster race residing on a remote planet in the distant future.

PHILIP COLBERT: Journey to the Lobster Planet - Taipei

Art Beyond Borders: Colbert's Global Artistic Approach

Philip Colbert and BENTLEY Taipei collaborate

Colbert's global presence is evident in his passion for the democratization of art and the universality of artistic expression. Along with the solo exhibition at Taipei, a collaborative venture with BENTLEY Taipei, NOKE, and Miracle Coffee Neihu extends the Journey to the Lobster Planet" beyond the gallery walls.

Philip Colbert and NOKE collaborate at NOKE Grand Staircase on the 3rd Floor

- You've been exhibiting your work at a high pace in various countries and regions and are also exhibiting outside the gallery and collaborations with brands in this exhibition. What aspects do you emphasize when presenting your work in different regions?

Philip: I am passionate about the democratization of art, the idea that art is for everyone, and the spirit of artistic expression that transcends mediums. So, in this sense, I embrace collaborations and projects that take my work out of the traditional artistic context. I love how artwork can connect with people from different cultures, and I firmly believe that art serves as a unifying force, building bridges and fostering connections across the globe.

Sketching the Imaginary: Artist's Creative Process

Philip Colbert and NOKE collaborate at NOKE Grand Staircase on the 3rd Floor

Influenced by pioneers of Pop Art, Colbert seamlessly integrates contemporary digital culture into the context of art history. As he navigates the expansive world of art, leaping effortlessly from past to future, one wonders: How does the Lobster and Philip Colbert soar through the realm of art in their daily creative pursuits?

- Could you elaborate on your creative process? Are there any specific techniques or materials you use during the creation of your art?

Philip: I spend a lot of time sketching ideas, and that’s often how works originate. When I have a composition I want to paint, I spend a lot of time digitally developing the sketch before starting the painting process. For me, the definition of the image is essential to build and push as far as possible.

I try to keep a constant routine of time in my studio every day, so I keep growing things forward. Some days are more productive than others; some works go quickly, others simmer for a while before they get completed, and others never finish. I tend to work on a few things at once. When traveling, I always take an iPad and sketchbook.

Philip Colbert at Whitestone Gallery Taipei

During our insightful interview, Colbert discusses his sci-fi world, the lobster's symbolic significance, revealing its profound influence on his life and work, and his creative process. Embark on the journey with us as we uncover a transformative narrative – a biography unlike any other!

View Exhibition Details »

Subscribe Our Mail Magazine

If you chose to subscribe to our newsletter, you will receive the latest news and exclusive offers by email.









View more