DC Artist Kelly Towles + Masterworks From the Phillips = American Art Redux

We shared pictures from our studio visit with DC artist Kelly Towles earlier this month; in this video, hear from the artist on testing boundaries and what he calls “a graceful vandalism” of  two iconic American artworks from Made in the USA.

The Phillips partnered with Towles to create two original t-shirt designs using reproductions of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Miss Lillian Woakes and Edward Hopper’s Approaching a City.  The limited edition t-shirts make their debut in the museum shop at the American Bounty Phillips after 5 on August 7; we’ll be giving away a signed shirt to one visitor that evening, stop by for a chance to win!

Whistler and Hopper, Graffiti-Style

Kelly Towles and dogs

Artist Kelly Towles and his dogs in his studio. All photos courtesy The Phillips Collection

Last week, DC-based artist and long-time Phillips fan Kelly Towles brought some of the masterworks from Made in the USA into the 21st century—and gave them some attitude. Best known for his vibrant murals all around DC (think Toki Underground, DC Brau, U Street Music Hall) often featuring fantastical masked figures, Towles used spray paint and ink to add his signature street art style to reproductions of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Miss Lillian Woakes (between 1890 and 1891) and Edward Hopper’s Approaching a City (1946). A limited number of t-shirts and totes with these images will be available in the museum shop in the coming weeks—stay tuned for more information.

We visited Towles’s studio to catch the artist at work:



hopper_two side by side

Towles adding to Edward Hopper’s Approaching a City


whistler_three side by side

Towles working on Whistler’s Miss Lillian Woakes


The final product by Kelly Towles