By: Mar’Che Boggess
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- If you’ve spent any amount of time in Page Library, you’ve probably come across artwork by Phil Jones, a 1997 graduate of Lincoln University. His sculptures of people connected to LU history can be found throughout the building – including Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, and Martin Luther King Jr. Jones recently spoke with the Clarion News about his artistic work.
The Clarion: When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
Jones: I’ve always done art as long as I can remember. I can’t remember a time I when I wasn’t making art
The Clarion: What led you to LU?
Jones: I’m a third-generation alumni. My grandfather was the first person in our family to go to college. My mother went to college here as well. I majored in computer science and history.
The Clarion: LU has a rich history. In what way is your work able to capture that history?
Jones: I have been blessed to be used by Mark Schleer, the university archivist. When he needs pieces for something, I do it. I just like to give back.
The Clarion: Do you remember the moment when you first saw your work in Page Library? How did you feel?
Jones: I felt very proud to have work here.
The Clarion: What is your creative process when it comes to sculpting?
Jones: First, I try to find the best reference photo. I feel like I can do the details of the subject a lot more justice if I have more photos to draw from. Then, I sit down and put it on an armature.
The Clarion: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve sculpted to date?
Jones: I think Abraham Lincoln is my favorite. To me, he looks like he could just blink his eyes at you and start talking to you.
The Clarion: Do you have any advice for LU art students interested in sculpting?
Jones: Don’t ever stop. When you fail you learn a lesson. Take that lesson, forget the frustration, and just keep doing it.
The Clarion: What’s one sculpture that you’d love to see in the archives department one day?
Jones: I honestly don’t know. Anything the archives department asks of me.
The Clarion: Aside from sculpting, do you have any other creative hobbies?
Jones: I play guitar, I started playing in 1967. I teach high school and middle school art. I teach at Trinity Lutheran and Calvary Lutheran. I paint and write as well. I have a novel here in the library called “Manopoly: The Persian Affair.” I’m also working on a textbook about sculpting.
The Clarion: What legacy do you want your art to leave on the LU’s campus?
Jones: One of these days my grandkids, my great grandkids, and my great-great grandkids will be able to walk in here and touch something I made with my hands. They’ll be able to say, “My grandpa did that.”