photo of phil malhiot

As a child growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, Phil Malhiot trolled the neighborhood alleys looking for found objects to drag home for new creations. The son of two college professors, Malhiot’s boyhood home was always full of music and art and his parents encouraged his creativity even if it meant that someone else’s trash had become their son’s treasure.

In high school, Malhiot’s creativity blossomed as he started drawing, painting and winning awards for his architecture designs. After high school, Malhiot hit the road hitchhiking around the country for several years, meeting an array of interesting people and living in some of the most beautiful places in the country. After his sojourn he returned to the Chicago area to raise three sons and start a home painting and remodeling business.

Malhiot discovered the ancient Japanese art of bonsai in the mid 1980s and has practiced and taught the art since then. In 2006 he won the Best in Show award at the Chicago Botanical Garden’s annual bonsai show.

But painting remained his passion and over the past decade he has developed a unique abstract style using a wide array of color and forms. He works out of the studio in his North Riverside, Illinois home and lives with his partner, writer Victoria Pierce.