The practice of painting has become, for Phil Irish, a way of exploring the world, stimulating imagination, and of sparking deep exchange with others. Irish is currently pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts at York University.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and English Literature from the University of Guelph, in 1995. His contribution to the Francophonie International Painting Competition was exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada in 2001.

Exhibitions at public museums, artist-run-centres, and commercial galleries include the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Joyce Yahouda Gallery, Angell Gallery, and AKA Artist Run Centre. Group exhibitions across Canada and the United States have featured his work.

Irish is also the principle curator at the Minarovich Gallery, in the Elora Centre for the Arts. He has developed thematic and solo projects with artists such as John Kissick, Ed Burtynsky, Sara Angelucci, and Janet Morton.