Richard Phillips has achieved international fame for his large-scale hyper-realistic portraits that appropriate material from a range of cultural sources: porn, advertising spreads from the '50s, '60s, and '70s, photographs, and Pop paintings. His close-up, highly stylized renderings of his subjects' faces are often set against a bold, neutral background that disassociates them from their original context. The people in his portraits are almost eerie and empty in their perfection, resulting in beautiful images that provoke a disengaged, disembodied psychological state in the viewer. Although some may read cynicism, irony, or inhumanity in the empty faces of his canvases, he argues that his intention "is not to be ironic or make disparaging commentary."
Recently Phillips has gained notoriety for receiving product commissions from brands including Montblanc, MAC cosmetics, and Jimmy Choo, as well as the inclusion of his 1998 painting Spectrum on the show Gossip Girl. He has exhibited his work in numerous group shows internationally including the Whitney Biennial. He has had numerous solo shows at White Cube, including his most recent exhibition Most Wanted, a series of portraits culled from red carpet photographs of contemporary celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Justin Timberlake, and Miley Cyrus.