Provocative Persians

Ian Phillips is playfully toying with Thunder Bay’s favourite pink pastry: the persian. His ink-based art portrays local landscapes, incorporating the pink-icing-covered pastries at specific locations around the city. It’s brilliant. Everyone who sees them can’t help but crack a smile. His work is vibrant, sometimes dainty, adorable, and oh-so-flamboyantly attractive.

Ian PhillipsHowever, Phillips’ artistic inspiration for these works runs much deeper than the pretty-in-pink pastry. “The images are playful responses to hateful and homophobic letters published in our local Thunder Bay media, which often referred to the colour pink,” he explains. “Pairing up my images with the letters is an attempt to demonstrate the ever-present tension I felt when visiting my hometown. It’s a contrast.”

“That is my experience, having grown up in Thunder Bay,” he continues. “Painting the town pink might offend some people, but who doesn’t enjoy a persian? There is nothing to be afraid of in the colour pink—a euphemism for anything queer. It’s food for thought, literally!”

Ian PhillipsPhillips hopes his abstract and playful work will make the subject of homophobia more approachable for some people. I believe it will. There is no question his work is very palatable, and so tongue-in-cheek one can’t help but admire it. And, after all, there isn’t a soul in Thunder Bay who could dispute that a persian would be just a plain old boring donut without it’s charmingly delectable pink frosting.

To view more of Ian Phillips’ work, visit his blog at or his online shop at

By Kim Latimer