The James McPhillips Museum and Gift Shop Show opens at Jane on Spring Street this Saturday, May 18, with a Meet and Greet with the artist from noon to 4 p.m.
Jane is a consignment and fair trade shop owned by Jane Henderson Kenyon and her daughter Isabelle Kenyon. In addition to selling men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, and home goods, the store has recycled and fair trade items.
It has also made room for original artwork by local artists.
Store manager Johnna Hooban, who has worked at Jane for two years, recalls the first time James (Jay) McPhillips stopped by. “He’s funny and personable and phenomenally talented,” recalls Ms. Hooban. “He was interested in the fact that the store consigns artwork and he brought along his oil paintings. We thought his work was out of this world.”
Since then, Mr. McPhillips has had oil paintings regularly on display at Jane alongside items such as T-shirts. His work has also been featured at Small World Cafe, in the NJ Skateshop, 72 Witherspoon Street, and at the Chapman Gallery, 46 E. State St., Doylestown, Pa.
The former Comedy Central TV staffer and advertising agency art director, whose diverse clients have included The Guggenheim Museum and Brooklyn Chewing Gum, has worked in the Princeton area for over a decade, five of those, from 2002 to 2007, as McCarter Theatre’s graphic designer.
His work has been exhibited on Times Square billboards, gallery paintings, clothing, bumper stickers, and numerous print and web publications. He has an ear for humor and an eye for visual puns. Witness his T-shirts sporting the face of musician Prince above the word Ton. His book of humorous stories, drawings, and notions, Staff Pick is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
A native of Philadelphia, now residing in Doylestown, Mr. McPhillips was living in Lambertville when he first came to Princeton to work for McCarter. Before that, his two-hour daily train commute to Manhattan for his job at Comedy Central was compensated for by his love of the work there, creating ads for shows such as South Park and The Daily Show.
While working at McCarter and cutting across the Princeton University campus on his way into town, the artist began painting local scenes. “The architecture in Princeton is incredible,” says Mr. McPhillips who has also painted scenes of Bucks County and Doylestown.
Since leaving McCarter, the artist has been focusing full-time on painting and on producing his own greeting cards, T-shirts, bags and other items. He’s received several local commissions for his work and hopes that the exhibition at Jane will result in more exposure. The exhibition will feature some 15 oil paintings, influenced by the Pennsylvania Impressionists and the early 20th century Tonalists, ranging from the elegantly moody to the wildly humorous.
When Jane, which also sells vintage Princeton ephemera, was thinking about upcoming graduation and reunions, the idea of an exhibition was born. Mr. McPhillips’s scenes of Princeton were an obvious fit. The exhibition will include Princeton paintings, giclee prints and greeting cards, T-shirts, and bag designs as well as Art Mini’s (bagged, tagged hand-painted mini paintings of famous works throughout art history).
The James McPhillips Museum and Gift Shop Show at Jane, 7 Spring Street, opens Saturday, May 18 and continues through June 14 with a second Meet and Greet with the artist on Saturday June 1, noon to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit: www.jaymcphillips.com.