Phillip Thies, also known as Phil Theis, was born in 1958 and grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York. He currently lives and works in Manhattan. Phil grew up in a household where art was appreciated and he began to make his own toys out of cardboard as a young child. Eventually these projects evolved into small sculptures made from found objects and slowly he developed an interest in drawing and painting.
Phil majored in art at Wagner College while on football scholarship and thrived in their independent studies program. Once he graduated he continued to pursue art while working in construction. In 1987 he made his debut as a wrestler under the ring name Mondo Kleen. Phil is probably best known as Damien Demento, a dark character who comes from “The Outer Reaches of your Mind,” for the World Wrestling Federation. He left the WWF in 1993 and began to explore acting. He has appeared in a multitude of small roles, most notable as Erik in Die Hard 3.
As he pursued other professions, Phil continued to make art throughout his life drawing inspiration from his wrestling career as well as his childhood education in Catholic schools. Most of his work has a dark or macabre feel but he insists that although his work can be considered controversial, this is not his particular intention. As he continues to make artwork, much of Phil’s focus is to avoid being pigeonholed by a particular subject or medium and to continue to explore new ways of expression. This is his first New York exhibition.