A Peaceful Moment with John W. Jones

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 happy smiling faces aside, I found the colors  vibrant, the people in the paintings lively, 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.  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 creates a  version 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.

First Image John W. Jones
“First Image” John W. Jones
Texas SLave John W. Jones
“Texas Slave John W. Jones
Slaves Tilling Ground John W. Jones
“Slaves Tilling Ground” John W. Jones
Slaves Tending Cotton John W. Jones
“Slaves Tending Cotton” John W. Jones
Slaves Harvesting Wheat John W. Jones
“Slaves Harvesting Wheat” John W. Jones
Georgia SLaves John W. Jones
“Georgia Slaves” John W. Jones
Slaves On The Levee John W. Jones
“Slaves On The Levee” John W. JOnes
“Slave Riding Horse” John W. Jones
Scan 2
By John W. Jones
by John W. Jones
by John W. Jones
“Slaves Tending Cotton”  John W. Jones


  1. they are bright and inspiring images, for the most part happy. almost a relief to know in the midst of the undisputed evils of the institution of slavery there were happy moments and relatively quiet days of work and being together. he chooses some of those moment to immortalize.

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  2. Very compelling images. I was a bit taken aback, however, by all of the smiles on the subjects. I doubt that they had much to smile about. I wonder if the artist is trying to convey something subtle here about the nature of the double standard slaves had to adhere to in order to survive?

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  3. One thing that stands out along your line of thinking is the absence of the owners, overseers, from the artwork. These pictures were so beautiful to me, yet depicting such a horrid chapter in United States history. Hesitated in doing this post. So glad I did now as I see by the responses that are coming in that they are striking a cord in others too.
    Thank you for stopping by.


  4. I don’t know whether or not the order of these pictures was thought out or not, but the biggest impact that I take away from this blog is delivered in the final picture. Don’t get me wrong I am a die hard capitalist, but after viewing this sequence of pictures I begin to understand the frustration of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Portrayed here in this sequence of pictures is a working class (albeit slave labor) that has created untold wealth for the landholder. The first pictures show the workers happy at their labor which can be seen by the smiles on their faces but then in the last picture we see them staring of in the distance at the great wealth the landholder has accumulated at their expense. Do not misconstrue my comment to show that I am for slavery, for there is no excuse for what happened in the past but when you study the disparity that exists today it makes me feel like there is still some slavery going on. Wow, I could make this into a whole blog about my thoughts on the American economic model, and I might just have to do that sometime.

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  5. Hello: Yes indeed the placement of the photos was very carefully thought out! I just bet that Mr Jone’s depiction of the slaves looking back at a distance to the wealth they had created was indeed his spot on message. I did put it last to show the results of all the work of the previous pictures.

    Your contribution to this post was a valuable one. Thank you.


  6. All is excellent Kim. I am in the midst of a rather large total focused attention project. Plan on being back to the blogs around the end of May. Can’t wait to get back as I miss being in touch with everyone and have lots to share. Thank you so very much for stopping by and your concern.

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