Right in the thick of the crowded Old City Market, on a visit to Charleston South Carolina, USA. Just at the moment I knew I could not look at even one more hand crafted bowl, basket, cookie, or bracelet I stepped out of the throng and into the world of John W. Jones.
There are many art booths at the market, but none like this. The sounds of tourists choosing their treasure fell away and I was stepping back into the time period the Southern United States has not quite been able to let go of. The colors were vibrant, the people in the paintings so real, and the overpowering theme of industry and labor dominated the artist’s landscapes and people.
I stood in a beautiful gallery of large oils, acrylics, and watercolors by John W. Jones. They were modestly priced by art standards. Layers of rich detail and vibrant colors depicting the everyday life and landscapes of the African American experience in America. Mr Jones has for the last twenty-five years painted for Time Life Books, IBM, Westinghouse, Rubbermaid, NASA, Gadded Space and Flight Center, and the US Postal Service. He speaks to the truth of the Southern United States, whether in his art or his book and traveling exhibition, Confederate Currency: The Color of Money, Images of Slavery in the Confederate and Southern States Currency.
As the United States and I wrestle with how to speak or not speak about the culture and country of racial divides, inequality, and often blatant racism or speak of the good things that have happened in the U.S. to bring about equality, I thought I would share some of these images with you that Mr Jones has created, and urge you to support him and his art, and the many voices working for equality and peace for all worldwide who express their voice through their creative efforts.