Recently Philip Walker got the amazing opportunity to install his Original artwork in the Aviation Administration Building at the Jacksonville International Airport. In order to explain how this came about, I really need to rewind to about two years ago.
Philip had an art premier at the Adele Grange Cultural Center, in the heart of Atlantic Beach, Florida in May of 2019. Jen Jones Murray, Atlantic Beach local and Art Curator for Jax International Airport came in support and after chatting with Philip, asked if he was interested in showing his art there too.
He always loved the idea that our International airport promoted artists, and had always wanted to participate somehow. The time frame he and Jen agreed on for his art to be installed would come in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. All public functions, especially travel and art shows, were to be cancelled as the world slowly shut in on itself.
Life, as it happened, was pretty much put on hold until the virus was more under control and the government's strict regulations lifted.
Philip and Jen stayed in contact throughout this time, and it was a waiting game to figure out the perfect timing to do the installation.
There happened to be an opportunity to show his art on the walls of the Aviation Administration Building January 6 through March 30, 2021. Not wanting any further delay, Philip kicked it into gear, selecting originals to be on display and working with the team to get pieces painted and framed on time.
Each install, it seems, our paintings get bigger and our vehicles get smaller. After twenty years of packing art like a Tetris game in our vehicles, this job required renting a Uhaul.
In our typical fashion we were working up until the very last minute as these large pieces take several weeks to custom frame and paint. Even on the way to the airport we had to pick up several pieces from our framer that Philip planned on hanging. Packing and shipping art isn't easy, especially pieces that are this size so we took extra precautions. Of course the team was still running behind as traffic seemed to be against our small caravan - but we made our install window in the nick of time.
Situating the art and figuring out where to hang it all was easy with Jen Jones Murray in the room! Part of the days task was to document each step throughout the process. From loading the truck, making at least a dozen trips from the parking lot, squeezing in the elevator to the main lobby, to holding levels, measuring tapes and stacking moving blankets.
Most people only see the final product of a painting or a gallery after each piece is hung - but we want to show all the heart and hustle behind the scenes of how we make it happen.
The space seemed like it was made for Philips art - each painting complimented the other even on opposing walls. We hope the people who walk these halls everyday feel a connection to these pieces and spark conversation, interest and even passion.
Philip will also show new works that are currently in progress in the Haskell Gallery in Main Terminal from July 1-September 30, 2021.
The new collection he is planning to add for the Haskell Gallery portrays an "Old Florida" theme. Being a fifth generation Floridian with roots in the east coast shrimping industry (not to mention he’s also a huge history buff) Philip has plans to portray the coastal shores of his upbringing through his art. These pieces will hold close ties with those local to Florida, as well as hopefully with the thousands of travelers passing through the terminal.
Being able to work with our airport's art program is a huge honor and source of pride for Philip. Having his work introduced to people from across the globe, Philip wants to bring awareness to not only his art but also to the community which has shaped it.