Philip Koch (pronounced like “watch”) never intended to become an artist. To his great surprise, a required art history class his first semester at Oberlin College so fascinated him that he changed his major from sociology to studio art. He never looked back.
A former abstract artist, Koch was inspired early in his career by the work of Edward Hopper to change to working in a realist direction. Since 1983 he has been granted 16 residencies to stay and work in Hopper’s Truro studio.
Koch is the great grandson of John Wallace, a Scottish landscape painter and the grandson of John Capstaff, the inventor of the world’s first commercially available color film, Kodachrome. Ironically Koch avoids photographs as a source, relying on direct observation and memory to make his paintings. Koch stated, “I like to think of myself as following the example of Edward Hopper — painting is about an inner response and imagination rather than photographic description.” In 2017 Swope Art Museum in Indiana will have a solo exhibition of Koch’s paintings of the Hopper studio and the surrounding area.
16 American art museum’s hold Koch’s paintings in their Permanent Collections. He is a senior professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY, where Koch was the Artist in Residence in 2015-16, is preparing a major museum of exhibition of Koch’s work for 2018.