Phil Lichtenhan was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1952. He is the son of Franklin Lichtenhan, a cabinetmaker and carpenter in Tucson since the 1940's, originally from Germantown, New York. His mother Lois Middleton Lichtenhan was born in Nogales, Arizona. Phil received his talent from his mother who minored in art at the U of A. From his dad he gained a love for craft. He has been encouraged by both parents to pursue art since the time he can remember.
Phil's early teachers remember him as the student who approached an art project from a different perspective, exploring the technique in a unique way. Perhaps his most important influence was Gerry Wolfe, a teacher at Rincon High in Tucson, who opened Phil's eyes to the wonder of modern art. Phil attended Northern Arizona University in 1970, taking seventy hours of art on his way to an extended degree in art education.
Phil returned to school at the U of A. He explored intaglio viscosity relief collagraphs; a highly technical process that Phil pushed to very expressive levels, producing jewel like color from loosely made organic looking plates. Phil received his MFA in printmaking from the U of A in 1981.
Sedona, Arizona then became Phil's home after accepting a teaching position at Verde Valley School, a private boarding school twelve miles from Sedona. Phil continued to make art while teaching full time, running to Flagstaff often to use the printing facilities at NAU. While at Verde Valley School he was able to dabble in acting and stage design. He directed the on-site Avery Art Gallery, bringing in shows from across the nation. He led Native American field trips that included developing a relationship with the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni people.
His hometown calling he returned to Tucson to teach. He loved the teaching process, especially interaction with the students and the constant surprises they offer. Phil now works part time in the studio and part time at a local picture framing shop. For the past ten years Phil has been painting the landscape on site and in the studio from sketches and photographs he has taken on his frequent hikes. For the past fifteen years Phil has been studying the figure with local drawing groups. He produces literal interpretations of the figure as well as fascinating expressive abstractions. Recently Phil has been producing Nests from found discards.
Phil's art can be found throughout the United States in both public and private collections including the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Arizona State University Museum of Art, the Tucson Museum of Art, Bradley University Museum of Art, Norwest Bank, Arizona Commerce Bank and the Ansel Adams estate. Phil is an accomplished musician and with his friends produces interpretive covers, and evocative rhythmical improvisations. He also sings and plays guitar, bass and percussion.