In Joel Daniel Phillips’ art, featured here, the characters living in his neighborhood are brought to the center stage and become the hero of their own story. The San Francisco based artist’s graphite and charcoal drawings feature people on the streets who generally go unnoticed by the public, or are virtually ignored, only to become celebrated in his monumental works. “A true portrait is far more than a rendering of physical form,” he says, focusing instead on portraying the vulnerable nature that makes us human.
With each new portrait, Phillips creates an evolving image of the diverse social landscape of his city. His latest portraits, debuting tonight at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, features homeless, eccentric, and rebellious non-conformists that are elevated to beautifully detailed, life-sized glory. The series breaks down their personalities to their individual “belongings”; a patch-filled leather jacket, a helmet wrapped in duct tape, and a walking stick are a few. Though coming from different backgrounds, Phillips also sees a special connection between them.
“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,” he writes. “I pursue ways to peel back the protective veils that we all display to outside world, striving to capture the un-invented 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.”
Joel Daniel Phillips’ “Belongings” will be on view at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco May 5th through May 28th, 2016.