In this series, we highlight participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2019 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 29, 2019.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Southeast Washington DC. I studied fine arts at central state university in Ohio. Today I work full time as a gallery aide at the National Gallery of Art and I am also a practicing artist. I have dreams of being a full time artist but I am in no rush. I love working in museum settings.
What do you do at The Phillips Collection? What are some unique or interesting parts of your job?
I work as a Museum Assistant. I’ve been working here part time for almost 5 years now. I am usually standing in the galleries making sure the work is safe and I also help visitors find their way around the gallery. I love talking with visitors about the collection and I love studying the works on display. It helps me with my own artistic process. It’s a privilege.
What is your favorite artwork? Why?
My favorite painting at the Phillips is Pierre Bonnard’s Terrace. It wasn’t always my favorite but it grew on me. I started to notice things about the painting as months went by. I love how radiant the colors are and how the trees vibrate. You can feel the energy just by looking at it. But my favorite painting all time is Michelangelo’s God Separating Light and Dark.
What do you like to listen to when you’re creating your art?
I listen to so many different genres. Mostly rap/hip hop, soul, classical. Jay Z, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Matt Maeson, Linkin Park.
What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2019 Staff Show (or your work in general)?
This piece is part of a series of self portrait paintings where I focus on my own personal feelings and thoughts. This particular painting is a Declaration and Affirmation. Often I find myself struggling with my confidence and focus as a artist. I want to be the best that I can be, but there’s always that lingering voice that whispers something negative. In this painting I confront that voice. In the painting there are two Selves. One is slouched and unconfident while admiring the goat. The other figure is upright, facing forward, and self assured. The goat in the painting symbolizes “The Greatest of All Time.” G.O.A.T.