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3 Questions with Jerry Phillips

Jerry PhillipsJerry Phillips is Building Manager and Gallery Coordinator for E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center. He is also the recipient of the 2019 College of Arts and Science Staff Excellence Award for the Humanities.

What was you response when you found out that you received the award?

Complete surprise! I'm usually working behind the scenes and under the radar when it comes to the greater department and it was an unexpected moment. I'm so humbled by this. 

You are an artist. What kind of artwork do you create and what excites you about it?

Yes, I am artist. I received my bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts in printmaking and drawing from Murray State University (2007) and Bradley University(2010), respectively. Since moving to Nashville in 2012, I've mostly worked in drawing. Drawing is exciting to me, because I see it as fundamental to all forms of art. It has an immediacy in materials and creation without the need to require a dedicated creative space or large equipment.

The backbone of all of my art is my continuing questions of identity in relation to my family and heritage. The work has incorporated plant, animal, oceanic, and most recently portraiture. With all of the uncertainties that come with being a child of immigrants, specifically a Pacific Islander background, I find exciting that I can address these ideas through image making when words fail me. Drawing is crucial in how I make sense of things - often taking the form of organisms and objects that would not exist in the same space in the natural world.  

What is your favorite movie about an artist and why?

I'm quite fond of Finding Vivian Maier - a documentary following the director, Joseph Maloof and his accidental finding of the photographs by Vivian Maier, an unknown photographer at the time. Maloof happens upon a collection of her work and negatives leading him to locate even more of her belongings. During his research, he learns that Vivian worked as a nanny and that she was never seen without a camera in her hands. She shot over 100,000 photographs of the cities she lived in, the people she worked for, and documented the daily in a very poetic and time capturing aesthetic. I highly recommend this one!

See below for more samples of Jerry's artwork or check out his website http://www.jerryfish.net

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