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 held a solo exhibition of Koch’s paintings of the Hopper studio and the surrounding area. The Arnot Art Museum paired Philip Koch's oil Uncharted II with a landscape by the famous 19th century American Impressionist painter Willard Metcalfe in the Museum's 23 Pairs exhibition that was featured in Fine Art Connoisseur. The March issue of Terre Haute Living featured a cover story on Koch's painting. Spectrum magazine, published by Arts Iliana published a cover article on Swope's Koch exhibition in its March issue, and the June 2017 issue of Cape Cod Life magazine carried a photo of Philip Koch's painting of Edward Hopper's studio,Truro Studio: Two Rooms. Koch continues to serve as the Artist in Residence at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY.
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 is preparing a major museum of exhibition of Koch’s work for 2018. Philip Koch's painting North Passage is prominently featured in the new book by David and Carl Little, Art of Acadia published by DownEast Books.