Staff Show 2018: Justin Baun

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2018 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 30, 2018.

Gaze by Justin Baun

Gaze by Justin Baun

Tell us about yourself.

There was never a time in my young life where I wasn’t drawing or making things. I would express myself artistically from a very young age. Today, at 24 years old, I still push myself to express my perceptions through the arts. I am currently living in the proverbial Anytown, USA known as Westminster, Maryland. Living in suburbia has only expanded my impulse to capture the beauty in simple things. These passions come from my need to expand my perspective and allow me to express myself to the fullest extent.

Photography has always been a natural practice for me. I’ve been taking pictures since my earliest memories. I love capturing images on digital and film cameras and love to experiment with the photography process. Playing with light, movement, and balance, I express my perceptions as best I can through the lens.

I attended Carroll Community College and graduated with an Associates of Applied Arts in Graphic Design. As an aspiring designer, I strive to distill complex concepts into simple forms of communication. The same principles apply to my photography as well.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I’m a Museum Assistant. Our job is to guard the art and engage visitors in a dialogue about the art when asked. I think the most interesting part of the job is the exposure to the art for such large periods of time. Standing next to a Mattise for eight hours at a time really allows you to analyze and understand it on an intimate level.

Photo of Justin Baun

Justin Baun

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, Anni Albers, Alex Katz, and Alfred Stieglitz

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

The bedroom galleries in the House are really cozy and are a wonderfully intimate space to view the art.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2018 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

Gaze was shot with a Fujifilm X-T1 late last summer. To me, the image brings a glimpse of hope and optimist as the subject gazes upward at the expansive sky. I kept the title vague as to allow the viewer to assign their own meaning to it.

This Is My Day Job: The James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through September 30, 2018. 

Staff Show 2018: Emma Sweeney

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2018 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 30, 2018.

Crouch by Emma Sweeney

Crouch by Emma Sweeney

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

Museum Assistant. My favorite part of the job is getting one-on-one time with the artworks.

Photo of Emma Sweeney

Emma Sweeney

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Alexander Calder, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Joan Mitchell, Francisco de Goya

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

I love the Laib Wax Room and the former main gallery. It’s very secluded and peaceful there.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2018 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

My piece for the staff show is a woodblock print which I made using two separately carved blocks. One block was carved using the jigsaw method, in which the block is cut up into different pieces that can then be inked separately and put back together like a jigsaw puzzle, allowing me to print multiple colors from one block. Apparently this was one of Edvard Munch’s favorite methods of printmaking (Munch is one of my personal printmaking heroes). The second block I carved serves as the “key” block, the central part of the final image (in this case the lines of the figure), which I printed on top of the jigsaw block. What I love best about this process is that it is a combination of printing and painting: I paint the inks onto the jigsaw block, which means I can be totally spontaneous with the color and gesture. Even though I am re-creating the same image each time, each print comes out looking radically different (no two are exactly alike). In terms of the image itself, I’ve always been drawn to the female form (for reasons I don’t quite understand), and I particularly like creating visceral, expressive poses.

This Is My Day Job: The James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through September 30, 2018. 

Staff Show 2018: Michael McSorley

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2018 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 30, 2018.

Drivers by Mike McSorley

Drivers by Michael McSorley

Tell us about yourself.

At the age of eight, I was allowed to take some photos with an old camera. My photos of bicycle wheels, sewage pumps, and other inane objects vexed my parents (film and developing was expensive), but predicted some of the art I now produce.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I’m a museum assistant. I help visitors with information and also protect the art. Before or after visitors arrive, I get to study the art, mostly looking at the value and color themes. I have found that the majority of paintings in the galleries use a complementary color scheme or a variation on that.

Photo of Mike McSorley

Mike McSorley

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Pierre Bonnard’s Children and Cat. I love the cool violet-blue light on the kids’ foreheads and the analogous color scheme.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

The Goh Annex and Sant Building, second floor.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2018 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

My process varies piece to piece, but on this painting the image was composed and drawn using graphite. Paint was applied, pulling the graphite into the paint and using it to darken and tone down the edges. This layer was thin and the ground of the board reflects back through. This increases color variety which was also enhanced by brushing, scraping, rubbing, using contrasts of color and other concepts. Sometimes the original lines are still visible in the finished painting, and at other times I redraw the edges with pencil to add strength. Initially I had drawn the tools lying down, but when that wasn’t working, I wiped out the drawing using turpentine. That left a dark stain, so I flipped the painting over, covered the stain with a velatura of white, and let the history of it show. I thought this added an interesting element.

This Is My Day Job: The James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through September 30, 2018. Join us for a reception in the exhibition on September 20, 5-7 pm.