LU Artist Spotlight: Phil Jones

Phil Jones stands next to his sculptures inside Page Library. March 30, 2021. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)

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.”

About The Clarion News

Campus and community news produced by journalism students at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.
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1 Response to LU Artist Spotlight: Phil Jones

  1. I M Bryant says:

    It’s March 2022 and I’m just reading this. I was here when Mar’Che did the interview. Phil Jones was his Own Man and LOVED Lincoln University. We are honored to have seven of his works here. I was saddened by his passing because we wanted him to do Dr. James Frank as well. RIP Mr. Jones.


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