If you’re heading to the Lucca Comics and Games Convention in Italy next week (30th October – 3rd November), then you might want to catch the screening of the documentary Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones, and view In A Sheltered Corner, an exhibition of the artist’s incredible work.
The exhibition takes its name from one of Jeffrey Jones’ most admired works, “In a Sheltered Corner”, which was published by Idyl Impress in 1977 as a limited edition print of just 50, hand-coloured with watercolour by the artist. The release was followed by an uncoloured version, published the same year by Idyl Impress in a signed-and-numbered edition of 1200.
Jeffrey Catherine Jones (10th January 1944 – 19th May 2011) was an American artist whose most famous work goes from the late 1960s to the 2000s, creating hundreds of covers for many different types of books, especially fantasy, horror and science fiction. Not only illustrator and painter, she has created many horror comics stories, but she is especially remembered for Idyl and I’m Age.
Between 1975 and 1979, together with Bernie Wrightson, Michael W. Kaluta and Barry Windosor-Smith, Jones rented a loft in New York where what the world has known as The Studio was born, the place where some of the most important and iconic comic stories, illustrations and paintings of the respective genres.
Frank Frazetta called Jones “the greatest living painter”. He received the award for Best Artist of the Year for the comic book series Idyl at Lucca in 1976.
Although Jones achieved fame as Jeff Jones and lived a large part of his life as a man, he changed his name following a hormone replacement therapy and was legally recognised as a woman. Despite everything, he continued to use his original name to identify himself as an artist.
Sadly, Jones passed away on 19th May 2011 surrounded by family, having suffered from severe emphysema and bronchitis as well as hardening of the arteries around the heart. The artist remains much missed.
This fascinating character will be honoured with a rich retrospective at Palazzo Ducale during the convention. Among the works on display, worth mentioning is “The Wall” (1977), a painting created for a limited edition print and present in the book that collects the best works from the years of The Studio, and the painting for the cover of the book Nine Princes In Amber.
On Saturday 2nd November, at 5.00 pm at Lucca’s Central Cinema, there’s a screening of the documentary Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones, a profound, intense and dramatic journey into the life and choices of the artist.
Initially launched through the crowdfunding site IndieGogo, this award-winning documentary is a close-up of Jones’ works and his transition through the eyes of Maria Paz Cabardo, who interviewed Catherine Jones herself, along with some of the greatest contemporary artists such as Moebius, Dave McKean, Rick Berry, Michael William Kaluta, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Guay, Mike Mignola, Roger Dean and many others.
For the premiere in Italy it will be possible to view the entire documentary – and participate in a panel with the director Maria Paz Cabardo and the artist Phil Hale.
For those of you interested in Jones’ work, IDW published Jeffrey Jones: A Life in Art in 2011, a volume of the artist’s personal favourites amongst his many artworks and Vanguard released Jeffrey Jones: The Definitive Reference in 2013 by Emanuel Maris and Patrick K. Hill. a profusely illustrated reference book, gathering together the most detailed information on every known, first-publication image by Jones from magazines, books, comics, postcards, and every other artifact one can imagine – described by the publisher as “the absolute completists’ guide to Jeffrey Jones”.
Specialist publisher Donald M. Grant published Idyl – I’m Age, the first-ever all-in-one collection of two comic strips by Jeffrey Jones back in 2015: “Idyl”, which originally ran in National Lampoon in the 1970s, and “I’m Age”, which ran in Heavy Metal in the early 1980s.
• Jeffrey Catherine Jones: In A Quiet Corner is open now at the Palazzo Ducale, Lucca and runs until 3rd November 2019. Currently open Monday to Friday 3.00pm-7.00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10.00am-1.00pm and 3.00pm-7.00pm. From 29th October – 2nd November: 9.00am-8.00pm. November 3rd: 9.00 am-7.00 pm | Free entry | More information here
• A Spanish tribute to the life and work of Jeffrey Jones on Comic Historietas (In Spanish, warning: some pop-ups)
• An article about Jeffrey Jones, written by Cesare Giombetti for the Italian web magazine Fumettomania (thanks to Mario Benenati for this link)
With thanks to Paul Gravett