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, born in Nogales, Arizona, was schooled at Tucson High and the University of Arizona. She managed Elloise Estate sales in the 70's and 80's. 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. In high school Phil took as many art classes as he could fit into his schedule. 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. Bruce Horn and Dick Beasley were his most influential teachers at this time. He then taught art at Salpointe High School from 1974 to 1978. Phil returned to school at the U of A studying printmaking under Lynn Schroeder and Wayne Enstice. 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. Verde Valley School is a self-contained community, secluded and surrounded by acres of Forest Service Land. Phil continued to make art while teaching full time, running up to Flagstaff often to use the printing facilities at NAU, at the invitation of Bruce Horn, professor of art. 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, Phil returned to Tucson in 1987. he worked with local sculptor John Heric, then returned to Salpointe High School in 1988 to teach art and humanities until May 2001. 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 sings and plays guitar, bass and percussion.
Phil's partner for twenty seven years is his wife Hollis Hemingway. She is a counselor at Mountain View High School. Their boys Bryon, age twenty four and Logan, twenty two, are creative, intelligent and fun to be with.