Summer 2019 Pre-College Deep Dive with Justin Phillips

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Monday, June 10th, 2019

I’m Justin Phillips and I am a professor at PCA&D in the BFA degree program, specifically teaching in the College’s Foundation Department, and I am an instructor in the College’s Continuing Education program. I’m also a PCA&D alumnus, having graduated from the BFA program in fine art. I also received my MFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Art has always been a huge part of my life and I grew up in a very creative household. My father studied art and was an art teacher before starting his own photography studio. I grew up surrounded by the artwork of him and his friends. My mother used to get me and my siblings large blank pieces of paper on which to make art. She was anti-coloring books so I sort of grew up in an environment that truly encouraged me to follow my imagination and that planted seeds for how I work today. Making and teaching art is my life’s work and it is what gets me out of bed at 5:00 A.M. most mornings. I wake up and think about what is going on in the studio or lesson plans for the day. I feel truly blessed to live a life where I have opportunities to be creative, express myself, and help develop artists through teaching.


This summer I’m teaching two Pre-College courses. The first is “Portfolio Preparation: LEVELUP+IMPACT” and the second, “3D Studio: Deep Dive.” Both classes are a fun, yet challenging dive, into enriching and developing your work and will help you take your skills to another level. Pre-College classes are designed to help high school students improve their understanding of visual language, art making, and help them to hone their individual artistic voices.


“Portfolio Preparation: LEVELUP+IMPACT” is focused on helping you develop a stronger, more cohesive portfolio than what you start the course with. You’ll also complete the class with an increased ability to objectively reflect on your personal work as well as be able to assess the avenues you can take to continue to improve your work. You will gain valuable experience in how to discuss and critique visual works with your peers. Critique is an area where our freshmen often express a desire to have had more experience before beginning their art college career, which makes this course all the more valuable to young artists.

Equanimity Reflections 1 -3, 2018 by Justin Phillips

Equanimity Reflections 1 -3, 2018, by Justin Phillips.

As artists we are always looking for ways to expand our understanding of visual art, and the techniques and methodologies of art making. Working three dimensionally, in a class like “3D Studio: Deep Dive,” gives us a better understanding of form, proportion, physics, texture, and a knowledge of scale and physical space. My goal in this course is to have you work on foundation-level exercises and projects to introduce you to working in 3D. We will then create figurative and character-based work which is an added bonus for any students that are interested in concept art and character development. We will also be engaging in fun exercises that will be an introduction to three dimensional design principles. This is a great class for students that want to get a head-start learning 3D principles that they will likely be studying in the first year at art school and also for students that want to take their 2D dimensional work and transform that work into three dimensional forms.


I think being a summer pre-college student on campus is very exciting. This type of experience is inspirational and instills a sense of seriousness in a young artist. PCA&D is an institution where students take powerful steps towards crafting a career in the arts. Teaching in the Foundation Department has given me an informed lens and ample experience working with students that are starting their art education on a collegiate level. I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to carefully balance the nuances of teaching students the fundamentals or principles of art making with identifying the students individual needs, learning styles, and celebrating student’s individuality. I believe that my two summer pre-college courses are perfectly crafted for students that are interested in studying art in college and students that are dedicated to their craft and want to their art making to the next level. I hope to see you on campus this summer!

Justin Phillips’ work explores meanings and nuances that are embedded in his formalist mixed media works where he incorporates elements of drawing, painting, and collage. He employs a range of creative methodologies such as chance elements, intuitive mark making, conjuring rhythms, erasure, as well as personally established rules and systems. Phillips’ work ranges from drawings created in one sitting to deeply layered works where he explores sustained and deep efforts to form complex and contemplative works, he is deeply inspired by the energy and dynamics of daily life and the inner workings of the world in which we live.  Phillips is fascinated with the connection between visual language and the human experience and he often describes his works as meditations or physical embodiments of meditation rituals or routines. His practice is a never-ending survey of the connection between one’s self and their surroundings. Phillips works and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the United States where he is a faculty member at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. View more of his work at justinphillipsart.com