Regan Philpott (Urban Camouflage)

Regan Durwin Philpott was born in Winnipeg and grew up in the Garden City area. He was raised by his adoptive parents. "I didn't find out I was adopted until I was 27," says Regan. "It was one of my birth mother's last requests to find me." His birth mother has now passed on; as has his adopted father. His extended family today consists of his mother who raised him, three brothers (two Winnipeg and one on tour in the Middle East), two sisters; plus an adopted brother and sister. "That's more than enough family," chuckles Regan, "and then you've also got nieces and nephews all over the place!"

Philpott remembers himself as always having been an artist, right back to childhood. "I've always liked to draw. I went to Garden City Collegiate and I had a great English teacher there, Mrs Maltz. She got me into the arts. She dragged us to Toronto, and Stratford and took us to plays. She always promoted the arts to us. I also think she was an influence in the fact that I'm also a singer-songwriter."

After high school he went straight to work at Pier 7- "that's almost the only thing you can do going to University- work at bars and restaurants: it's night work and you get free food!" He cooked to put himself through University; and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. In 1988 he went to work for an architect in Toronto. He worked for a couple of architects, but found the wages there were too low and that his peers (and others doing the same work he did) there were making the same low wage. It was a definite turnoff for him.

"I did much of my writing while in Toronto. There's nothing else to do- you can't afford to do anything else because it's so expensive there you just sit in your room and write!"

In an effort to raise his standard of living, he was working at a special T-shirt Company he helped his friend start. He was their graphics art printer. He's done T-shirt art over a 10 year period, on and off at various points in his life. He's worked for a couple of screen print companies. Many of the T-shirts were camouflage designs and different colours and patterns of abstract art. When the T-shirt company he was working for burned down, he went to work framing and building houses. He learned the things he didn't learn when he was in architecture. He learned a great deal about framing houses and decided to go the route of interior design and art.

"I started doing interior design work right after University. The first apartment I lived in the Village (Osborne Village) I renovated. I probably lived in about 10 or more addresses in the Village over the next ten years. One of the houses that I lived in was owned by an architect, who asked me to do some extra work. So I started renovating his places. I started doing T-shirt art for a living. I was always an artist and it was something to do and something I was interested in. I would sell the T-shirts on the street. Even in Toronto when I was working for an architect I used to airbrush my own shirts and sell them on the street."

When the Mural project came up in 2001 and things took off, he resigned from the T- shirt company and now concentrates on art and interior design. "When I did the Naylor job, they just asked me 'do you think you can do a Mural' because I was actually part of the construction crew. It was a $3.5 million renovation of all three buildings and when we were just finishing up the president of the company asked if I could do a Mural for them."

The stairwell for Naylor Communications was the first Mural he had ever done; and the project grew into a total of six Murals. The project was a bit of a catalyst for him: the clients were really happy with his work; and word of mouth of his talents spread. But it was actually the first time he had owned or even used that type of airbrush. The first Mural of the project he completed in time for their grand reopening: the stairwell Mural, which is breathtaking in 360 degrees; and must be seen to be fully appreciated. All six of the Murals were just what the company wanted for their new working environment and headquarters; and in each one of them a requisite and clever business analogy was embedded into the artwork.

At the time of this writing, Regan has two outdoor Murals featured on this site and plans to do more in the near future; but he definitely prefers interior Murals. "Indoor Murals I can do anytime I want; whereas outdoor Murals are much harder to schedule and there are so many things that you have to work around and the weather can be very unpredictable."

Regan loves this city. "I've been all across Canada. Winnipeg has the most things to do, per capita, of any city I've lived in. Art shows, JazzFest, Folk Festivals, The Fringe Festival, Folklorama; and more outdoor entertainment in regards to Festivals than other places. It's a nice and beautiful city. I love the revitalization that's going on here: Broadway has been totally revamped. Toronto is too crammed and everyone is too stressed out or in a hurry. Here it's easy to get around; you can go to any one of a number of parks in the city; there's the zoo; you can bike anywhere in the city. I like all four seasons. I love the fall and the colours. It's so relaxing. You're in a bad mood? Go down and hang out in the park for a while! Take a walk along a river trail. The trees are gorgeous, especially in the downtown core area. I also think that over the years there have been persons in positions of power at various levels of government who have worked very hard to make Winnipeg a desirable place to want to visit. Both Katz and Murray (our last two Mayors) have done a good job in promoting the city."

Philpott is also a writer and a singer-songwriter. He's written about 90 songs and has a recording studio that he just recently finished soundproofing. He also has two woodshops and all the tools- one shop in his basement and one on the Pembina Highway. He can play the bass and also some percussion; but he usually leaves the musical instruments to his bandmates so he can concentrate on his vocals. He's recording a CD which he plans to use in an upcoming fundraiser against Child Abuse (an issue he feels strongly about); in which his acoustic or orchestrated music set will accompany audio- visual artwork in the background.

His company, Urban Camouflage, has built its base on re-designing older homes. He does a lot of cabinet design and all aspects of interior design. This is where interior Murals come in; providing a change in atmosphere for the home. He work at a lot of old houses, re-doing everything his clients want. One upcoming project is building some solar housing outside the city. "I'm going to be doing all the interior design, and probably some Murals. We plan to video the construction and then auction the houses off on the Internet. I'm also starting to import environmental products: electric scooters, solar products and water purification for the design of these eco-friendly homes."

Philpott has a good client base now with the number of jobs he's done now and with good word-of-mouth. "I have enough work to keep me busy for the next year and a half. When I'm not busy with one of these other things, I'm busy with renovating my own house." Regan's biggest challenge at the moment is coordinating everything. "There's so much to do it and so many people involved and the legal work between the businesses and the business plans and trying to work at the same time. Sometimes you have to sit back and take a deep breath!"

Regan lives in the central area of Winnipeg.

Contact Regan via email at urbancamoflauge@mts.net

Visit his website at http://www.mts.net/~drivnif
Click here to view Regan Philpott's outdoor Winnipeg Murals.