Phone: 317-844-8400

[email protected]

slide 1

Joel Phillips

Joel Phillips Biography

Joel Daniel Phillips’ work focuses on the tenets of classical draftsmanship employed in monumental formats. Inspired by the depth and breadth of human experience, he strives to tell the personal and societal histories etched in the faces of those around him. Through the tip of his pencil, the artist seeks to find moments where our projected senses of self are transparent, allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible. Phillips’ work has been exhibited at institutions and galleries across the United States as well as abroad, including the National Portrait Gallery,  Tacoma Art Museum, The Art Museum of South Texas, Fort Wayne Museum of Art and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. In 2016 he was the 3rd prize recipient in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery, and the artist is currently a 2017/2018 Fellow at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.



The only way to truly understand something is to draw it.” – Jean Le Corbusier

This is the center of my work—an attempt to sincerely grasp what I see around me through the tip of a pencil and a piece of charcoal. At its root, the act of drawing necessitates a concentrated study of not only the physical attributes of the subject, but the emotional as well. Every line and crease in a face tells a story, and rendering these requires the artist to touch and explore each facet of the subject’s existence.

My work focuses primarily on portraiture at a monumental scale. I am fascinated by the intricacies and commonalities that we share as humans, and search for moments when our projected senses of self are transparent, allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible. I pursue ways to peel back the protective veils that we all display to the outside world, striving to capture the unbidden spontaneity of experience.

Central to this search is a focus on the significance of narrative in human existence. Our lives are not linear, with one instant leading solely into the next, but rather circular, with each experience formed and defined by others. A portrait functions in the same manner, teasing out emotions and truths that inform not only the particular instant captured, but more importantly the story leading up to it.

A true portrait is far more than a rendering of physical form—it is the capturing of the vulnerable, un-invented narratives that make us human. Seeing and understanding these is my ultimate goal.


3rd Prize, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, March 2016
Tom Anderson Art Award, Westmont College, 2010/2011
Ludington-Parshall Art Award, Santa Barbara Art Association, 2009/2010
Wes Nishamura Memorial Art Scholarship, Westmont College, 2008/2009

Welcome to the Orange West”, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville TN, Oct 2017
“Hazards May Be Present”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, April 2017
Belongings”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2016
“Repose” Galleri Ramfjord, Oslo Norway, Oct 2015
“I Am Another Yourself”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, Sept 2014
“No Regrets In Life”, Satellite 66, San Francisco CA, May 2012

“Juxtapozed” Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne ID, Apr-Jul 2017
“Flourish”, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa AZ, May-Aug 2017
“National Realism Survey”, MA Doran, Tulsa OK, May 2017
Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibition”, Tacoma Art Museum/Art Museum of South Texas/Kemper Museum, Various, Jan-Dec

Impulse: Then & Now”, Art Association of Harrisburg, PA. 2017.
“Supersonic Electronic Invitation VI”, Spoke Art NY, New York NY, Jan 2017

The New Vanguard”, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster CA, August 2016
Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibition”, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, March 2016
MFA Never”, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco CA, Feb 2016
Art Pow! Wow!”, Honolulu School Museum of Art, Honolulu HI, Jan 2016
Supersonic Electronic Invitational V”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, Jan 2016

Miami Project, Hashimoto Contemporary, Miami MI, Dec 2015
“Front Yard / Backstreet”, Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto CA, Oct 2015
Invisible College”, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Forte Wayne IN, July 2015
Manifest:Justice”, Task Force, Los Angeles CA, May 2015
Art Market San Francisco, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2014
Art on Paper Fair, Hashimoto Contemporary, New York NY, March 2015
Supersonic Electronic Invitational IV”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, Jan 2015

Scope Art Fair Miami, Hashimoto Contemporary, Miami FL, Dec 2014
Art Market San Francisco, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2014
EK Invitational, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco CA, May 2014
The Moleskin Project III” Spoke Art Gallery, San Francisco CA, Dec 2013
Bad Dads, A Tribute to Wes Anderson” Spoke Art Gallery, San Francisco CA, Nov 2013
AMC’s The Walking Dead Gallery Show” Hero Complex Gallery, Los Angeles CA, Oct 2013
Califas” Group Invitational, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco CA, Oct 2013
Art Market San Francisco, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2013
Scorcese: an art show tribute” Group Invitational, Spoke Art Gallery/Bold Hype Gallery, New York NY, April 2013
ReCreate ATX” Group Invitational, Hope Outdoor Gallery, Austin TX, March 2013
Gallery Crawl NightLife” Pop-up Art Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco CA, Jan 2013

Journeys: Westmont Artist’s Alumni Invitational”, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara CA, Oct 2012
2 Blocks of Art” Group Invitational, Urban Solutions, San Francisco CA, Sept 2012
Street Level” Group Invitational, Ogilvy & Mather, San Francisco CA, June 2012