Determination and Hard Work Pay Off for African-American Artist J.W. McPhail After Serving 25-Year Prison Sentence

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Hardwork pays off talented fine artist makes his move on the art world.

Determination and hard work pay off for African-American artist J.W. McPhail after serving 25-year prison sentence. J.W. McPhail was a young man trying to find himself on the street with the lure of girls, money and drugs tugging at him. He made one mistake, which ironically allowed him the time and resources to turn his life around. Now he’s an artist on the verge of success.

Master artist J W McPhail, the protégé of noted artist Oliver Johnson, is poised to become a premier fine artist. While serving a 25-year sentence, McPhail learned to paint by watching fellow inmate Johnson, an excellent, uniquely styled painter. Now the student, who turned his life around, has more than 100 pieces in private collections, including the homes of friends and family members. And he’s got signed limited-edition prints and open-edition lithograph prints available for purchase through Goree Art Publishing. McPhail not only mastered painting but he also earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in professional studies from the New York Theological Seminary.

Simone Dewey of Simone’s Gallery in Pelham, New York, states, “What I like about his work is that it’s very realistic. You get a lot of feeling from his paintings.” His watercolors and oils depict African-American people, especially children and women, in exquisite detail.

McPhail’s work “represents real-life experience that we can all relate to,” adds Dewey. “Especially African-American people. It’s a reflection of who we are.” Some of McPhail’s pieces: “Young Dancer,” which depicts a girl backstage peeking at her ancestors through a crack shaped like the continent of Africa. In “My Big Sister,” a child teaches her younger sibling how to lace up roller skates. “My Grandma” shows a grandmother patiently letting her granddaughter play in her hair.

“I don’t have any kids; that’s why I paint them,” explains McPhail, who has been painting since 1978. “I love children. Everything starts in childhood.” For him, though, art has a higher purpose: “Art is my ministry.” That spiritual component comes through especially in his landscapes. In the “Garden of Eden” the sun beams down on a lively yet serene scene. And the bright yellows and greens of “The Arrival” beckon you to a faraway place.

Check out J.W. McPhail’s work, a hot new artist on the verge of success. Visit for a glimpse or call (516) 887-7800 or (866) 768-7800. All art is available framed or unframed and as signed limited-edition prints or open-edition lithograph prints. Goree Art Publishing showcases the works of artists from West Africa and throughout the African Diaspora.


Goree Art Publishing

(516) 887-7800

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Naim Jordan

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