The down-home charm and rustic spirit of the work of the artist known simply as JACK speaks for itself. His portraits of musicians — mostly older, rootsy artists such as Willie Nelson, Little Richard and Etta James — and his signature stick flags are easily understood by everyone, which is exactly what their creator intended.
"I think folk art has simpler and anti-elite aims to it," JACK explains. "I think it tries to get at the American spirit. It tries to find art that is common ground and made by common people. It's not about cultural one-upmanship and creating commodities for an elite intelligentsia. It's the opposite; it's about making something simple and down-to-earth that everyone can share. It's about our common threads, our common history, our common souls as American people."
Drawing from influences ranging from wooden signs and prison art to the French artist Jean Dubuffet, JACK creates beautiful works that capture the soul of his subjects out of the simplest of materials: old wood and house paint. His choice of media reflects his pervasive attitude that art is better when freed of the pretensions of the established art world.
"I was down with the art world, and I found it pretty elitist and repressive, and I quit," says the artist, who now lives in Estes Park. "And now I make $100 paintings and sell them to plumbers and accountants and musicians and regular people. It has much more life to it and much more soul power, accordingly."
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See JACK's work — and maybe buy one of his charming pieces — today and all month at the JACK American Folk Art exhibit at Oskar Blues, 303 Main Street in Lyons, open from 11 a.m. to midnight any day of the week, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Visit www.oskarblues.com or call 303-823-6685 for more information; see a preview of JACK's work and read his fascinating, illustrated, hand-lettered story at www.jackfolkart.com.
April 1-30, 2008