Born in Penang, Malaysia, Nicholas Phillips spent his first six years on a plantation in the northern state of Kedah. After returning to England with his family he then trained at the Sade School of Art, graduating in 1978. His work has been exhibited in Tokyo, Zurich, New York and London, and is held in the Yale Centre for British Art, Harvard's Houghton Library, the New York Public Library, and in London the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Science Museum and the Arts Council Collection.