Roots and Branches will provide attendees with a unique visual celebration of America’s original blues music. The show follows last year's popular Mojo Hands, in which Jones paired with Blues photo-documentarian George Mitchell. The two became friends after Mitchell purchased on of Jones' paintings and Jones painted renditions of three of Mitchell's photographs. To accentuate this relationship, Arts for ACT curator Claudia Goode paired Mitchell's photos with Jones' paintings so that viewers could enjoy Jones' colorful folk art interpretation of Mitchell's monochromatic shots.
Highly collectible, Jones' one-of-a-kind original artworks (he doesn't make any prints or reproductions) reflect his life experience and self-taught style. He puts his sweat and sould into each piece. Lennie never looks at his painting in terms of person-hours or materials, but prides himself by making his work available for all to enjoy.
Lennie was selected as the event artist for the 2013 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival this fall. He was recently commissioned to create a portrait of Grammy award winning Blues guitarist/songwriter Anders Osborne and was also commissioned to paint a portrait of country music’s legendary musician, historian and TV host Marty Stuart for the new Museum of American Music in Mississippi. Scream Guitars will also be debuting six guitars featuring six paintings by Lennie Jones.
ACT Gallery will display the guitars along with over 50 new works for the Roots and Branches exhibit.
It seems as if art has always been a joyous part of Jones’ daily life. Along with music, it has continually filled his need for soulful expression and redemption. Lennie typically begins his creativity time 'round 3:00 a.m., putting on his coffee and then running his two great rescue dogs through the black woods. While on this pre-dawn run, he draws inspiration from screech owls wailing, tree frogs squealing, whippoorwills whistling, insects chattering, night critters scurrying, and the big Southern moon lighting Spanish Moss hanging from stately live oaks.
Back at his little house, with a massive cup of black coffee, two sleeping dogs alongside him on his sofa, music playing softly, this is when he is the most creative. If studying or working on a specific musicians' portrait or a song-themed piece, he prefers to listen to those particular inspirations while initiating the painting. Lennie paints on an old dark wood coffee table; no easel for this outsider artist. Acrylic paint and many different brushes, white linen canvas, and his dogs. These are his favorite tools.
“No studio for me," Jones proclaims. "Art is a lifestyle and a joyous part of my simple life, every day,” Lennie adds, his voice underscoring his rugged individualism.
You, too, can partake of the individualized artistic stylings of folk artist Lennie Jones throughout the month of March at Arts for ACT Gallery and Boutique. The gallery is located on First Street in the downtown Fort Myers River District. For more information, please visit www.artsforactgallery.com or telephone 239-337-5050.