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Meet Jacob Phillips

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Phillips.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jacob. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My passion has always been creating. My journey started back in 2010, when I started thinking about what path I wanted to take for my career. I knew that I didn’t want to sit behind a desk and punch numbers all day. I also knew I didn’t want to be confined to a cubicle for the rest of my life. It’s just not me. My childhood was filled with moments where I could be super creative through legos and woodworking. During my undergrad at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I pursued a career as a sculptor. While I was in Birmingham, I took creative jobs at the Birmingham zoo and with local artists to broaden my views in the field in which I will spend the rest of my life.

After my undergraduate journey in Birmingham, I took a job in Connecticut as a sculpture counselor at Buck’s Rock Creative and Performing Arts Camp for the summer. The fellowships, friendships, and mentoring that happens there will forever live in my heart and embodies everything I believe in for my career. Fast forward a few moments in time, I now live in Oaklawn-Dallas with my partner and am currently a third-year MFA Sculpture Candidate at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. I am also a Teaching Fellow there and teach Beginning Sculpture: Traditional Methods. I believe in persistence of the ideas you dream if you truly want to succeed and meet your goals in life.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Finding my footing and a way to voice my identity wasn’t easy. In fact, I’m still finding that path. I identify as a gay man and when I announced who I am, I felt a huge weight lift off of my shoulders. I also felt the detrimental toll it took on family relationships I had built. I have always known I was gay and was tired of living a lie so I started living my life for me and only me. My personal journey has a huge influence in my artistic practice,

My research is a collective response to memory, void, and the act of building a community. These responses are a pursuit of hope and comfort. Through these explorations, my work speaks of pride, personal relationships, self-identity, and community. Endurance is a definite presence in my work through form, space, and time through physical stress of material and size. For me, a pod and/or cocoon is a shelter that contains an entity waiting for its release into the world. I have been exploring with a variety of materials such as Spanish moss, wood, video, light, sound, clay, metal, paper, and weaving of natural materials. I explore these different materials in an act to achieve that elicit tactile response from the viewer.

Each day I wake up, I know that I am grateful for the community of friends, colleagues, students, mentors, family, and last my partner. I find inspiration through each one as they keep me on my feet and push me to higher heights.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an artist and a teacher. Whether I am working in my studio or working in the classroom with the students, I’m always problem-solving. I love to be challenged when creating and push my self as well as my students to explore different materials and methods of constructing a new piece of artwork. Besides teaching and being an artist, I have also had the pleasure of working as one of the digital fabrication lab technicians at the University of North Texas. This experience has allowed me to expand my knowledge on digital methods of creating.

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Image Credit:
Jacob Phillips

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