This Illustration Project Is a Test of Discipline and Patience

In 2014, illustrator and hard-worker Lee John Phillips took on a colossal task: to document all the items his late grandfather had amassed in his garden shed. His ongoing project, titled the Shed, is both a testimony of his love for his grandfather and his dedication to his work.

“I didn’t intend to draw every single item,” he admitted in an interview with Zealous. “However, my job as an art teacher truly helped sculpt the project into what it is today. I was frustrated by the apathy and general demise in work ethic. Very few pupils realize the time that needs to be spent on creating something of value. I thought, foolishly, ‘I’ll show them!’ I very quickly made the decision to catalog everything, even multiples, and have not regretted it.”

“I was brought up in post-industrial South Wales in one of the many mining valleys,” he adds. “Family members are miners, steel fabricators, engineers, plumbers, etc. – I’m a vegetarian educated in the arts. I feel like the project is a way for me to relate to and preserve my heritage that has sadly been eroded since the early 1980s.”

His illustrations, highly detailed and incredibly realistic, document anything from jam jars and screws to nuts and bolts. A test of both his discipline and patience, Phillips can spend anything between 10 minutes to 15 hours a day on his project. “Some people push themselves by running marathons or climbing mountains,” he says. “I feel this is my test.”

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