I don’t know how to write the following words about recently deceased artist (and all around beloved Buffalonian) Phil Durgan without sounding cliché. That’s because Phil really was an incredibly gifted artist. And he was a super cool dude that everyone looked up to. He was a rock star in the community and was the epitome of a down to earth, good natured soul.
Phil was a guy that you just took one look at and couldn’t help but wonder what his story was. Where had he been? What had he done? He probably got all of those tattoos before they were trendy. He probably plays an instrument… really well. I bet that he can fix a car, crack a good joke, sub as a barista, surf. I bet that he has traveled, is well read, loves animals, and is always on the lookout for his next big adventure. People that knew him well will tell you that those were indeed a handful of his traits.
Phil had a bad boy look and the persona of a true gentleman. You could tell by his smile that he was a solid guy. He had a glimmer in his eye that made people wonder, “Have we ever met before?”
While Phil and I were not close, I am acutely aware of the impact that he made on the West Side of the city and the people who loved him dearly. Whether it was sporting his infamous hat while slinging food at Sweet_ness 7, working on a car on Forest Avenue, or creating inspirational works of art – if there was ever a guy who left us too soon, I would have to say that it’s Phil Durgan. His spirit lives strong in the city that he came to call “home”. You will be missed my man.
I am thankful that I was able to capture a short but sweet interview with the artist in November of 2013 (seen here).
Photo: Tina Waters