Philip Colbert earned himself the sobriquet of ‘godson of Andy Warhol’ by Andre Leon Talley, years before he painted a body of work which he has recently shown at one of London’s most prestigious art spaces for an inaugural solo show of his paintings at the Saatchi Gallery. Colbert’s brand, the Rodnik Band has been referred to by Vogue Italia as ‘a museum of wearable art’ and a regular feature on London’s red carpet. Colbert is best known for his idiosyncratic designs with his label The Rodnik Band making wearable art frocks that have won the countenance of Karl Lagerfeld and Cara Delevingne, who most-enthusiastically put herself forward to star in the advert for his brand hook-up with Snoopy for Selfridges. Some of the most avant-garde clothes horses in today’s fashion scene, including Anna Dello Russo, Sienna Miller and Lady Gaga have paraded themselves around in his attention-grabbing frocks. e’s currently putting his design head together with Kanye West on some bespoke items.
In his brash, splashy world that bursts with contemporary culture, all the historical references of the pop are sewn into Colbert’s lexicon alongside today’s figures and motifs. Pop emblems jostle with surrealism and the pervasive fragments and figures of a modern Britain. What Colbert’s shares in common with his pop forefathers is a commercial training in the visual vocabulary of mass culture. Andy Warhol was a highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer; Ed Ruscha was also a graphic designer, and James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter. Similarly, commercial, from graduating from St Andrew’s to moving to London to start a fashion brand, a world he knew nothing about, Colbert has spent over a decade creating a visual vernacular. By creating his world on canvas, he’s managed to cast himself alongside his heroes.