When Philip Simmons was a child, he liked to draw the wrought iron gates around Charleston, South Carolina. The spirals and loops he saw in the ironwork inspired his artistic abilities. Philip would grow up to become a master blacksmith, known throughout the United States.
Philip was born in 1912 on Daniel Island off the coast of South Carolina. "Dan's Island", as Philip called it, was isolated from the mainland and had a poorly maintained one-room schoolhouse. When he was 8 years old, Philip moved to Charleston to live with his mom and attend a new and better school. At school, he found that art was his favorite subject. Fascinated by the fancy iron gates and fences around town, Philip used them as subjects for his drawings. He also loved to watch blacksmiths working with iron.