We got into a discussion about who matters. I have the people who matter in my private life, and the ones who matter professionally. For the latter, it is just about anybody who donates to ArtHouse. (We had lately been cutting programs due to lack of money.) And personally, I value and respect the opinions of my friends and family.
Jackpine’s list, in general terms, is his mother, a sister in Idaho, and his brother (a convict in Central Prison, for selling the mother’s morphine illegally). He said those were the only three people he listened to, where art was concerned.
Your art is strange, I told him. Crude in technique, refined in motifs.
He said he could work on commission if I could sell his stuff. He said he could take orders, that his work didn’t have to come from his own ideas.
Let me ask around, I told him. See who needs a new lawn jockey or garden stuff. He took his seated dog back and, a week later, returned with an angel – Italian-style – reading from a large book. He said the book was poetry. He said the angel was reading Shelley. I asked why the cherub had her upper lip in a bit of an Elvis snarl.
Jackpine said the angel didn’t like Shelley. But she was reading it anyway because it was assigned for class.
Lately he works on mildly grotesque pieces: a pair of spindly arms reaching out for something unimportant, easy to lift or move, like curtains or mini blinds, the gesture and afterthought of some heavier mood or preoccupation.
“I see ghosts around here all the time,” he tells me as we sit in the high-ceilinged parlor, the walls gray from stormy light outside. I am here to tell him what my curator friend has decided. “They are Cherokee and settlers, ancestors in some cases.”
Does he see his mother’s ghost now?
“I do not see her. But then she told me I wouldn’t.”
Causes Sean Jackson Supports
PFLAG, Amnesty International, AA, Catholic Social Services