Jerry Phillips and art have been a pair since childhood. He would draw shapes – even dinosaurs. He didn’t study art until he began his freshman year at Murray State University in Kentucky.
“I’ve been studying and creating art on a higher level than recreation for the last 16 years,” Phillips, 34, wrote in an email recently.
And now those works have found a home on Fayetteville Technical Community College’s campus. “Materials, Thoughts and Studies” will be on display in The Art Gallery in Room 221 of the General Classroom Building through Oct. 29. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to noon, Monday and Wednesday; noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. to noon, Friday. Admission is free.
His show on campus comes by way of a friendship with Instructors Callie Goss and Kari Hooten. The trio attended graduate school at Bradley University in Illinois. Phillips currently lives in Nashville.
Goss said bringing Phillips to FTCC was a nine-month process – one she wanted for students.
“I wanted them to see a really multi-faceted artist working in different disciplines like painting, drawing and print-making, all in one body of work,” she said. “It’s very important for us in the art community to not just be aware of what artists are doing in our local community but globally.”
The gallery will show 22 framed pieces from Phillips, pulled from four different series. There’s a collection depicting The Rock Islands, a staple of Palau in the Southern Lagoon. The gallery will also display “Pacific Portraits” created with blue pencil. Their inspiration derives from Phillips’ family heritage of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. One portrait focuses on the face of a woman with a tropical flower tucked in her wavy hair.
“I was going through the old library of my grandparents taking note of Pacific Islander women,” Phillips said. “[It] brings to mind questions of history in a people, and how the hopes and fears of a people can be seen in their faces.”
His collages incorporate different compositions before sealing them to a paper’s surface. Some pieces took two to three hours to complete – even months. Fans of his work may have a favorite piece, but Phillips does not. He said it allows him to focus on each piece’s strengths and weaknesses.
“I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I was not drawing or creating art,” he said. “Art has given me a purpose to reflect on myself as a person. Art has given me the opportunity to meet so many different people…Art is truly a community, and that community is exciting, interesting and I have found it to be very supporting.”
An opening reception for “Materials, Thoughts and Studies” will be from 4 to 7 pm Oct. 27 in the campus gallery. Phillips will participate in an “Artist Talk” at 4:30 pm.
You can view more of Phillips’ works here.