Phyllis Krim was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. She was an artist from her infancy, when she drew on lampshades and walls. During her lifetime, she had over 100 shows in galleries and museums throughout the United States, during which her work has appeared alongside that of many luminaries in the art world, including Louise Bourgeois (a close friend of hers since the 1970s), Alice Neel, Will Barnet, Red Grooms, Elaine deKooning, Alfred Leslie, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Wolf Kahn, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Milton Avery, Maurice Sendak, and Robert Beauchamp.
Phyllis has received a number of painting and drawing prizes, including a painting prize from the 6th annual New York Exhibition for Painting, Sculpture and Graphics in 1973 (at the Avanti Gallery). In 1975, a documentary video on Phyllis and her work, Driving Passion, was broadcast on Manhattan Cable Television. In 1986 Phyllis was the only woman invited to be a charter member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society.
Phyllis said "I have always been interested in the inherent energy in machines and have painted them realistically and abstractly; in totality and in parts. I deal with their form, their complexity and simplicity, and the reflections on their surface. I consider them moving 'still life' and choose the most beautiful of the classic machines to work from. My work is simple and bold, yet composed of many abstract elements that combine to become a realist image. Color is precise, yet I see and use many colors within the realist framework."