Images                  Biography

joel daniel phillips


The only way to truly understand something is to draw it.”–Jean Le Corbusier

This is the center of my work—an attempt to sincerely grasp what I see around me through the tip of a pencil and a piece of charcoal. At its root, the act of drawing necessitates a concentrated study of not only the physical attributes of the subject, but the emotional as well. Every line and crease in a face tells a story, and rendering these requires the artist to touch and explore each facet of the subject’s existence.
My work focuses primarily on portraiture at a monumental scale. I am fascinated by the intricacies and commonalities that we share as humans, and search for moments when our projected senses of self are transparent, allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible. I pursue ways to peel back the protective veils that we all display to the outside world, striving to capture the unbidden spontaneity of experience.

Central to this search is a focus on the significance of narrative in human existence. Our lives are not linear, with one instant leading solely into the next, but rather circular, with each experience formed and defined by others. A portrait functions in the same manner, teasing out emotions and truths that inform not only the particular instant captured, but more importantly the story leading up to it.

A true portrait is far more than a rendering of physical form—it is the capturing of the vulnerable, un-invented narratives that make us human. Seeing and understanding these is my ultimate goal.


“Belongings”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2016

"Repose" Galleri Ramfjord, Oslo Norway, Oct 2015

"I Am Another Yourself", Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, Sept 2014

"No Regrets In Life", Satellite 66, San Francisco CA, May 2012




“The New Vanguard”, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster CA, August 2016

“Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibition”, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, March 2016

“MFA Never”, Root Division Gallery, San Francisco CA, Feb 2016

“Art Pow! Wow!”, Honolulu School Museum of Art, Honolulu HI, Jan 2016

“Supersonic Electronic Invitational V”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, Jan 2016


Miami Project, Hashimoto Contemporary, Miami MI, Dec 2015

"Front Yard / Backstreet", Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto CA, Oct 2015

“Invisible College”, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Forte Wayne IN, July 2015

“Manifest:Justice”, Task Force, Los Angeles CA, May 2015

Art Market San Francisco, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2014

Art on Paper Fair, Hashimoto Contemporary, New York NY, March 2015

“Supersonic Electronic Invitational IV”, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, Jan 2015


Scope Art Fair Miami, Hashimoto Contemporary, Miami FL, Dec 2014

Art Market San Francisco, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2014

“EK Invitational, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco CA, May 2014


“The Moleskin Project III” Spoke Art Gallery, San Francisco CA, Dec 2013

“Bad Dads, A Tribute to Wes Anderson” Spoke Art Gallery, San Francisco CA, Nov 2013

“AMC’s The Walking Dead Gallery Show” Hero Complex Gallery, Los Angeles CA, Oct 2013

“Califas” Group Invitational, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco CA, Oct 2013

Art Market San Francisco, Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco CA, May 2013

“Scorcese: an art show tribute” Group Invitational, Spoke Art Gallery/Bold Hype Gallery, New York NY, April 2013

“ReCreate ATX” Group Invitational, Hope Outdoor Gallery, Austin TX, March 2013

“Gallery Crawl NightLife” Pop-up Art Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco CA, Jan 2013


“Journeys: Westmont Artist’s Alumni Invitational”, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara CA, Oct 2012

“2 Blocks of Art” Group Invitational, Urban Solutions, San Francisco CA, Sept 2012

“Street Level” Group Invitational, Ogilvy & Mather, San Francisco CA, June 2012


Artsy, “Joel Daniel Phillips’ Disarming Portraits Look at the Frayed Edge of San Francisco’s Social Fabric” May 2016

BBC News, “New Faces in the US National Portrait Gallery” March 2016

Washington Post, “The National Portrait Gallery Announces Winners of the Outwin 2016 Competition” March 2016

Smithsonian Magazine, “Every Three Years, Artists Compete to Be On View at the National Portrait Gallery. Here Are the Winners” March 2016

Fine Art Connoisseur, “Artists Making Their Mark: Three to Watch. Discover the talents of Leah Lopez, Joel Daniel Phillips, and Cameron Smith” March-April 2015

The Huffington Post, “Hyperrealistic Drawings Ask Viewers To Take A Closer Look At Homeless Communities”, Spring 2015

Juxtapoz, "Powerful Portraits: Joel Daniel Phillips", Spring 2015

Hi-Fructose, "Joel Daniel Phillips' Provoking Life-size Portraits". Spring 2015

Graffiti Art Magazine, “From realism to hyperrealism” #26, Summer 2015

New American Paintings, Pacific Coast Issue #115, Fall 2014

Let Petit Voyuer, Issue 02, Summer 2014

San Francisco Bay Guardian, “Joel Daniel Phillips illustrates the overlooked in ‘I Am Another Yourself’, Fall 2014,

Juxtapoz, ‘Joel Daniel Phillips, No Regrets In Life’, Fall 2012,

San Francisco Bay Guardian, ‘Sketching Sixth Street: In new show, Joel Phillips renders the unseen’, Summer 2012

The Huffington Post, ‘No Regrets In Life’: Joel Daniel Phillips Exhibit Captures Mid-Market’s Homeless Residents’, Summer 2012

The Bold Italic, ‘No Regrets at Sixth and Market”, Summer 2012,

The Phoenix, “You Must Come From An Honorable Family” (2009), Spring 2011,


Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Tulsa OK, Jan 2017

Palo Alto Art Center Residency Grant, Palo Alto CA, Summer 2015

Helene Wurlizter Foundation Residency Grant, Taos NM, Summer 2014


3rd Prize, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, March 2016

Tom Anderson Art Award, Westmont College, 2010/2011

Ludington-Parshall Art Award, Santa Barbara Art Association, 2009/2010

Wes Nishamura Memorial Art Scholarship, Westmont College, 2008/2009


Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA, May 2011, Bachelor of Arts - Major in Fine Art, Graphics Emphasis

New York Center for Art and Media Studies, New York, NY, September 2009 - December 2009