Joel Daniel Phillips
Joel Daniel Phillips' “Josephine / Rest Haven Motel”, a charcoal and graphite portrait from 2017.

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Josephine / Rest Haven Motel
Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana; museum purchase

Josephine, the subject of this drawing, lives in a converted motel along the historic Route 66 byway in Afton, Oklahoma. The artist Joel Daniel Phillips was exploring the area when he was drawn to a decaying art-deco sign in her front yard. After granting the visitor permission to photograph the sign, Josephine spoke with Phillips and told him about her own art. Before he left, Phillips took a photograph, which served as the basis for this portrait.

By embracing “the painstaking, craft-driven rendering of a subject or moment,” Phillips seeks to discover “a richer understanding of the world around me and the complexity of its histories.”

He frequently engages with these complicated histories by drawing attention to those living on the outskirts of society.