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James Phillips

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Information about James Phillips

Profile image of James Phillips

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Visual Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
All Colors
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Studio
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/29/1945
Birth Location:
Brooklyn, New York

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Visual Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
All Colors
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Studio
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/29/1945
Birth Location:
Brooklyn
See how James Phillips is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Visual artist James Phillips was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. Phillips attended the Fleisher Art Memorial School in Philadelphia in the 1960s. He then went on to study at the Philadelphia College of Art (University of the Arts for Philadelphia) from 1964 to 1965, followed by a brief affiliation with the Lee Cultural Center in 1968. Phillips then attended the Printing Trade School in New York City. From there, he became a member of the Harlem-founded Weusi Artist Collective, a group of young artists who made African iconic imagery and symbols a central part of their work, from 1969 to 1973.

In 1970, Phillips met the founding members of AfriCobra (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), a group that was committed to incorporating African aesthetics, iconography and positive political imagery into African American art. Phillips also became a member of AfriCobra. From 1973 to 1977, he served as an artist-in-residence at Howard University with duties as a mural consultant. Then, from 1977 to 1979, Phillips was affiliated with C.E.T.A., a nationwide arts initiative of the Carter Administration. After participating in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Exchange Fellowship in Tokyo, Japan in 1980, he was appointed as a visiting lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley from 1983 to 1984. Phillips went on to teach courses at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Hampton University. Phillips earned his M.F.A. degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1998. In 2001, Phillips re-joined the faculty of the art department at Howard University as a lecturer, eventually becoming an associate professor of foundation and painting where he oversees all the graduate coursework.

As a painter, Phillips has participated in over seventy group and solo exhibitions in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally. His work is included in several well-known collections, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Arts and Artifacts Collection of the New York City Public Library and Hampton University. Phillips’ works have also been specially created for public art projects for the city of Baltimore, Howard University, the Department of Parks in New York City, and the transit system for the City of San Francisco. In 1994, he was commissioned by the Philadelphia Airport to create a permanent piece of art for their domestic wing. The Art in Embassies program of the United States Department of State purchased two of Phillips’ paintings in 2006 for the American Embassy in Togo, West Africa. Phillips was also honored with the Creative Artists Public Service Award in 1971.

James Phillips was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 5, 2013.

See how James Phillips is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Phillips' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Phillips lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Phillips describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Phillips talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Phillips talks about his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Phillips describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Phillips describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Phillips talks about attending Northside School in Gretna, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Phillips talks about his parents' relationship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about his affinity for art as a child at Northside School in Gretna, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about moving from Gretna, Virginia to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Phillips describes the differences between Gretna, Virginia and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Phillips talks about going to school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Phillips describes his childhood interests and activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Phillips describes life in Gretna, Virginia and living next door to white sharecroppers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Phillips describes his experience of racial discrimination in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Phillips talks about how he became involved with the March on Washington in 1963
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Phillips describes his teenage years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about his activities at Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Phillips talks about his activities at Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Phillips remembers meeting HistoryMakers A.B. Spellman and Amiri Baraka, and Ted Jones
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Phillips talks about the origins of black art
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Phillips talks about his experience at the Philadelphia College of Art
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Phillips talks about moving to New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Phillips describes the music scene in New York City during the late 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about the music he listens to while painting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Phillips describes becoming serious about creating visual art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Phillips talks about his brief return to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and his involvement with the Lee Cultural Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Phillips talks about his return to New York City and his work as an opaquer and printer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Phillips describes meeting members of the Weusi Artists Collective
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Phillips describes the origins of the Weusi Artists Collective which preceded the East Community Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Phillips talks about the East Educational and Cultural Center for People of African Descent
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Phillips talks about The Last Poets as well as other poets and musicians in New York City during the late 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Phillips talks about his artwork and meeting HistoryMaker A.B. Spellman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Phillips talks about his painting "The Dealer"
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about Harlem, New York in the mid-1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about artistic influences on the development of his painting style
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Phillips describes the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Phillips talks about the Studio Museum, the Weusi Artists Collective, and AfriCOBRA
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Phillips talks about incorporating African motifs and color contrast into his artwork
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Phillips remembers painting a backdrop for a John Coltrane award concert at Town Hall in 1973
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Phillips describes his art exhibitions in the 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Phillips gives a history of AfriCOBRA
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Phillips talks about AfriCOBRA and the evolution of his painting style while an artist-in-residence at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about HistoryMaker Jeff Donaldson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about musician Donald Byrd
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Phillips describes the atmosphere at Howard University in Washington, D.C. during the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Phillips talks about the pitfalls of making album cover artwork
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Phillips talks about his time as an artist-in-residence for the CETA Arts Program
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Phillips talks about his experience as an artist-in-residence at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Phillips talks about his NEA fellowship experience in Japan and his interest in mandalas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Phillips talks about his NEA fellowship experience in Japan and his interest in mandalas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about exploring new ways to present his ideas through art
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about the relationship between cosmograms across cultures
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Phillips talks about his time living in California
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Phillips describes his commissioned mural for Philadelphia International Airport, "Gateways to the World"
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Phillips talks about the logistics of government-funded public art, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James Phillips talks about the logistics of government-funded public art, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James Phillips describes earning his M.F.A. degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about the requirements for an M.F.A. degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James Phillips describes earning his M.F.A. degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James Phillips talks about his early teaching career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James Phillips talks about teaching at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and his career highlights
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James Phillips describes highlights from his time at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James Phillips talks about his students' artistic philosophies
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - James Phillips talks about his own artistic philosophy and practices
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - James Phillips reflects on his life
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James Phillips reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James Phillips talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - James Phillips talks about his family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - James Phillips reflects on how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - James Phillips narrates his photographs