Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spotlight On: JEFFREY CATHERINE JONES

Edit: (5.19.11, 11:00am) It looks like our sentiments came just in time. Jeffrey Catherine Jones passed away this morning after a bout of emphysema which he wasn't expected to recover from. I can only hope that our words of admiration somehow reach his ears, wherever they may be. Rest in peace.

It's not too often that you get to bear witness to an artist who is truly just doing his own thing... living in his own world, speaking his own unique language. Jeff Jones is one of those artists. I think it's fair to say that many contemporary artists have attempted to learn Jeff's language. And though many are close, none can boast his level of fluency. 

If you think painting is hard, all you have to do is look at Jeff's work, and realize, you're doing it all wrong.


I believe in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 1947.  That was before I met my father.  I was three and he seemed a myth.   My dad, I was told, was somewhere in a place called Germany, busy dropping bombs on people.  I didn't believe in him.

In the mid-forties Atlanta was beginning to build itself into a place that I'd never again recognize.  What I remember were ancient buildings, ancient trees, and a drumming sound that "the  South Shall Rise again."

I lived beneath the daily fragrance of impossible magnolias and a giant holly-tangle that shook with screaming, evening bats.

There remain impressions along with false memories with which I've been storied.  I was born into the great southern house of my grandfather, resplendent with ivy-carpeted yards, privet taller than he and clay tennis courts, dry and powdery, spreading quietly behind gardens of Victorian wildness.  I remember garages of mystery: red painted wooden buildings with doors that never opened.  Five cars wide, they spread across a gray cracked pavement where I learned, first with stroller, then with uncertain feet, to walk.

My grandmother moved in and out of rooms like a shadow, leaving a glimpsed but not always certain presence.  In the earlier part of this century she had been an outspoken suffragette, marching and rallying womankind to awaken.  Now she rarely spoke.

- An excerpt from the Autobiography of Jeffrey Catherine Jones.
Read the full story HERE.













22 comments:

  1. One of the most profound luminaries of our time. I can't wait to see this film in its entirety.

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  2. Sad to hear that She is in Hospice and not expected to recover.

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  3. Good to see the movie is still going forward despite the failed kickstarter fundraising. Every single teaser trailer was great so far.

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  4. Regarding Jones, I agree with Frank Frazetta.

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  5. I've received word that Jeffrey passed away this morning. He was suffering from severe emphysema and bronchitis as well as hardening of the arteries around the heart. Jeffrey had lapsed into a coma in the last few days and did not reawaken; he had a no resuscitation order.

    A sad day. Rest in peace, Jeff.

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  6. I've been in love with Jeff Jones work since my student days and he was kind enough to respond to some of questions in an email once. I'll always value that.

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  7. A titan in the field - I'll keep his work close and continue to learn from it...

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  8. Dan's right: If you think painting is hard, all you have to do is look at Jeff's work, and realize, you're doing it all wrong. Rest in Peace.

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  9. Jones was (and is) a huge source of inspiration for me. I look through my albums of her work nearly every day. No matter how many times I see Jones' paintings, they always seem to reward me with something new each time. It's wistful and sad to think there will be no more, yet what a treasure trove she left to us...

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  10. I read this post, finally pulled myself together to order "The Art of Jeffrey Jones" - and just about an hour later I saw the sad news about her passing. Requiescat in Pace and thanks for the wonderful artwork.

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  11. Brian McElligottMay 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    A very sad day. Jones' work has had a profound impact on me, in particular seeing the exhibition several years ago at a convention in Saratoga Spring's NY. I tried to express how when I started my personal art blog in march. A debt that can never be repaid.
    http://brianmcelligott.blogspot.com/2011/03/beginning.html

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  12. Such a shame. He gave me more than I could hope to return, and I wanted to thank him in person.

    Good run, Jeffrey Jones. You made me a better person.

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  13. Beautiful and amazing work. Taking illustration and turning it into fine arts. I'm in awe and she shall be missed for all her contributions, but also her strength.

    That said, please correct yourself on the use of pronouns in your post. Jones is a woman and should be treated and respected as such.

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  14. Rest in peace, Jeff. What a sad day, it seems like we've recently been losing some of our heroes, but man, what a legacy they left.

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  15. Anonymous--

    I never knew how to properly refer to Jeff after the last hormone treatments (which he had first experimented with back in the '70s with Bodé) and the adoption of the "Catherine" name. Jeff never had a sex-change operation (and said he had no intentions of having one) and never legally changed his name, so I was flummoxed as to what to call him in e-mails or conversation or when writing about him...so I directly asked him years ago around the time that we were working on the second of two books we did with him. He told me to call him "Jeff" or "Jeffrey" and since the law considered him a man, it was perfectly fine with him if I did, too. So I have always said "him" and "he" while others might say "her" and "she." Mike Kaluta, his oldest friend, also refers to Jeffrey as "he" and I would challenge anyone who says that Mike didn't respect (and love) Jeff.

    We had asked Jeff how he wanted his nameplate to read on his Spectrum Grand Master Award and it says, per his instructions, "Jeffrey Jones".

    So...there's no disrespect shown or intended.

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  16. A superb talent and an original intellect who had a tough road to walk. Jeffrey left an important legacy and will be missed.

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  17. Today I am sad. No more art will come to us through Jeff Jones and that is indeed a great loss. A few knew the man personally and I feel great sympathy for them. Millions of us only knew Jeff Jones through his artwork, but that was like knowing a piece of Jeff and I'm sad at losing that piece I knew.

    He was one of my artistic heroes. So profound was his influence on me that I had great difficulty keeping my art from looking like his. If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I wanted to imitate each of his brushstrokes! I cannot flatter another artist more.

    Perhaps the greatest thing Jeff Jones can teach all of us artists is that we must find our own path with our art (and indeed ourselves). We will get nowhere by imitating each other or forcing our art (or ourselves) into a mold that we think will sell or be popular. We must express in paint and pencil and tablet what we genuinely are, and let the chips fall as they fall.

    Today I will pour some wine, toast a great artist, and quietly think.

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  18. This is as big a shock to me as Frank's passing last May; another loss from an amazing generation.

    Jeff's personality shone through from the few words we exchanged on Facebook but I wish I could have met the person. Brilliant artist.

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  19. I wish I had discovered him earlier. :( Such brilliant work, skilled and bold and heart-felt.

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  20. I too am way too often reminded, at times like these, how little i know of the people who came before me in this industry that i want to work in. It seems like i will never catch up. Is there a few good books with Jeff's work in it that i should put on my wish list? I am starting to think i should just get my hands on everything those four artists have ever published or have had published about them.

    @Arnie - cheers for clearing that up i was starting to wonder about those pronouns.

    RIP Jeff Jones and thanks for all the work i have yet to discover.

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  21. It was because of Jeffrey Jones, along with Frazetta, that I finalized my career path into art so many years ago.

    A debt unknown and gratitude forevermore. I'll miss you.

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