Photos and story by Veronica Perry

May 13, 2018

Through divine inspiration and love something beautiful can be created. Whether that be a meaningful oil painting or a new life.

Phillip Altstatt is a local artist that has lived in Sacramento, California for most of his life. He is a graduate from California State University, Sacramento with a master’s degree in studio art. Altstatt currently is a graphic designer there.

He is the husband of Amy Altstatt, who is also a very talented artist. She is an illustrator and obtained her master's degree from the University of Southern California.  This powerfully present couple are the parents to Daisy Moon Altstatt, their most motivating creation.

No matter where this family goes, whether it be the far east of China or San Francisco to the west, Phillip has always called Sacramento his home.

“I have always lived here,” Altstatt says. “This is my home.”

The food doesn’t get much better than here either in Altstatt’s opinion. He’s been all over the world, but nothing beats the rich and diverse culinary scene of Sacramento and the generosity he feels from the people of this city.

“It’s hard to compete with the food,” he says. “I have been to Boston, San Francisco, New York, all over France, Italy, Austria I have even had a few good meals in the Czech Republic, but nothing compares to the food in Sacramento! And the people! The people are everything.”

Altstatt draws artististic inspiration from a variety of mediums. When it comes to animation he looks to Tim Burton, "A Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Frankenweenie." As well as the Phil Knight owned Lakai Entertainment LLC, who’ve come into fame with films such as "Coraline", "ParaNorman" and "Kubo and the Two Strings."

Street art influences him as well but as Altstatt jokes, it may have passed him by.

“I have always been inspired by street art but I never had the group of friends to do it.  By the time I was like 'I'm going to do some graffiti,' I was too old.”

Altstatt also lists pop surrealist Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins, who got his start as an illustrator for Activision as an inspiration.

“‘Craola’, he is a phenomenal oil painter,” Altstatt says. “He has his roots in video game design and graffiti but he makes wonderful pop surrealism paintings and he inspires me as well.”

Altstatt has a story to tell and with every art piece no matter the medium he looks to convey his story to the community.

“I have had a few very touching moments when people have seen my work,” Altstatt says. “There is this one particular moment. I know in the art world, it gets a little touch and go when you talk about God or religion, but I had this moment at a lake between here and Lake Tahoe and it was the middle of the night. The stars were reflecting off of the lake that was completely still.  It was a perfect mirror image of the sky and there was a campfire across the lake. What I saw was a beautiful orange glow between the trees. And I just, in that moment, felt God. I couldn’t lose the image. Six months later I decided to paint the image. I had my painting up in a group show and there were hundreds of paintings in this group show. A woman came up to me, found me (somebody pointed me out to her) and she says, ‘I don’t know what that painting is about (referencing the lake inspired art) but I felt God when i saw it.' For her to use those specific words, in the way that she said it, is exactly how I felt it. That is what I'm giving to the community, a piece of me that is communicated where words would fail to. The painting or the sculpture or the animation movie. That is my art's intention.”

You can see more of Phillip's work on his website or follow his instagram @artworkbyphil.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated that Phillip Altstatt taught web design and that Amy Altstatt received her master's degree from Sacramento State University, Sacramento.