Staff Show 2016: Mike Guy

In this series, Education Specialist for Public Programs Emily Bray highlights participants in the 2016 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 19, 2016.

MIke Guy, "Tunnel Vision"

MIke Guy, “Tunnel Vision”


Mike Guy

Mike Guy, Photo: Rhiannon Newman

Mike Guy, Photo: Rhiannon Newman

Mike Guy is an artist who has been active across the DC area. He received formal training from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, studying fiber arts under Fyuko Matsubara, with a focus in silk painting and printmaking. Since then, he has exhibited in galleries across DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He has also done large-scale mural projects for schools and businesses in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Mike has independently created pieces for companies including DC Vote, WeWork, Ted X, and the National Academy of Sciences.

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

I am a Museum Supervisor. The most interesting part is being able to walk through the museum first thing in the morning when all the lights are off. It’s always nice to have the first thing in your day be seeing some great art.

Who are your favorite artists in the collection?

Top three are Kandinsky, van Gogh, and Tack.

What is your favorite gallery or space within The Phillips Collection?

I am partial to the mural on the back wall of the courtyard in the alley (by four artists from Senegal) since I was the lead assistant for it.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2016 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

This painting is from my series of silk paintings Dormant. Each painting consists of one single line, which is quickly created on the silk. The nature of this method makes it so that you can’t go back and edit or erase lines after they have been laid out. I then go into the painting and add layers of color while reflecting on the initial movement in an attempt to find a balance. Each painting is a portrait, but instead of focusing on just the person, I blend them into their environment.

Find more of Guy’s artwork on his website.

The 2016 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view August 14 through September 19, 2016.

Making a Mural, Starting with a Pool

Of his artistic process, mural artist James Bullough says, “Every wall is a slightly different process…I normally start with the dark areas and work toward the light areas and just kind of move like a printer from one section of the painting all the way down.” Read more about the mural, and parts one and two of a larger interview with Bullough.

A Mural for 905 U Street

mural mockup

Street view of the wall space at 905 U Street, NW where artist James Bullough will create a site-sepcific mural, surrounded by artist renderings of the proposed mural aesthetic.

If you’re walking by 9th & U Street, NW, next week, be sure to peek down the alley at 905 U Street. Under the auspices of The Phillips Collection, DC-born artist James Bullough will be creating a site-specific mural on the eastern wall of a SPMC Urban Properties commercial and rental space beginning Monday, September 21. Bullough’s mural engages the architectural site in a direct and innovative way.

According to the artist, the mural will feature “One or two large figures floating out from the alleyway, as if under water, and appearing to peak around the corner onto the sidewalk. The figure(s)…will interact with the front edge of the building, possibly bracing themselves by holding onto the corner with one hand. Their facial expression(s) will suggest wonder and anticipation of what is around the corner. The figure(s) will be slightly fractured and shifted in my trademark fashion. The entire mural, figure(s) and background, will be painted in light bluish tones, with some flesh-tones in the skin, with lighter blue and white texture resembling the reflections of light passing through rippling water.”

The mural will be in process through Monday, September 28. Check back here for updates.


James Bullough is an American born artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. His paintings and monumentally scaled site-specific murals are phenomenal combinations of realist painting technique and graphic punctuation. Inspired by gritty urban graffiti as a young artist growing up in Washington, DC, Bullough harnessed its energy in his work, and perfected a realistic oil painting technique from his study of the Old Masters. Combining the momentum of the one and the technical precision of the other, his work is about staging compelling contrasts and juxtapositions. Working in everything from oil, spray paint, and ink on canvas, Bullough creates a balance between realistic figurations and stylized interruption to challenge the viewer’s perception.