Solo show launches young artist's career
“Windows,” this month’s solo exhibit by Felicity Jones at the Homer Council on the Arts, expands on the idea of a traditional art show. While many exhibits feature art carefully hung on walls, Jones, 17, presents her art as if you’d walked into a living room. A large window stands at the front of the gallery, with empty picture frames and other windows lying on the floor or hung on walls. Sculpture stands hold Sculpy clay figurines. Pen-and-ink drawings dominate the show. Ranging from the realistic to the fantastic, her drawings feature Jones’ signature technique of what she calls “doodles,” intricate drawings within drawings. To make it easier to see her doodles, Jones has kindly placed magnifying glasses around the gallery.
Jones said some artists suggested keeping her exhibit simple, but she felt that Homer art lovers wanted to see something of the artist, too.
“I wanted to find a balance between letting the art breathe and adding other stuff so people don’t get bored looking at the pieces,” Jones said. “I wanted it to be a place people could spend a long time there looking at everything.”
At age 17, it’s a rare honor for someone so young to have a solo exhibit — but an honor fitting an artist who’s also HCOA’s Youth Artist of the Year. HCOA director Peggy Paver invited Jones to do an exhibit last year when Paver met Jones at a booth of her work at the Nutcracker Faire.
“I love your work. I want to do a show,” Paver said she told Jones.
The oldest child of Billy Jones and Stephanie Jones, Felicity lives with her parents and siblings in a house near Mile 18.5 East End Road they share with her grandparents, pioneer Homer residents Spek and Ina Jones. Her mom made the mats for Felicity’s art and her dad made the frames using rustic wood from the family ranch and peony farm, Alaska Homestead Peonies.
Felicity credits her family with inspiring and supporting her art. An artistic great-grandmother, Diana Stevens, shares her birthday. Ina Jones started Kachemak Bay Ceramics, one of Homer’s earliest art galleries. Spek Jones can make anything of metal, Felicity said. Her mom sketches and enjoys the art of cooking. Her dad builds houses that he plans from sketches.
“I would definitely say my family is the biggest reason I’m the artist I am,” she said.
Born in Homer, at a young age she traveled with her family to Ecuador, Egypt and Mozambique on missionary work. Jones said she has been drawing since age 4 or 5, but at 6 when she lived in Mozambique, the children she met inspired her — “hanging out with kids who created awesome toys out of sticks and marbles,” she said. Jones said she sketched listening to an audio recording of the Book of Revelations.
“My mom’s Bible is filled with little sketches,” she said. “I think that’s when I really found my love for art.”
That Christian inspiration is reflected in some of her sketches, like a crucifix made of nails or a fantastic beast, “Revelation King,” a depiction of Jesus as a lion with seven horns and seven eyes. Jones said one of her favorite authors is C.S. Lewis, the Christian fantasy author who wrote the Narnia series. Jones also likes the writers J.K. Rowling, R.A. Salvatore and Terry Brooks. A writer as well as an artist, she’s working on a novel series set in a fantasy world she made up called Itamaril. She’d like her world to be like something Lewis would do, playful and not preachy.
“I don’t want to push it on people. I want to share morals, help make the world a better place,” she said.
Homeschooled through the IDEA, or Interior Distance Education of Alaska, program, Jones is mostly self-taught in her art.
“I have sketchbook after sketchbook of just drawing. When I was in school I would constantly draw ... I kind of annoyed my teachers,” she said. “My sketchbook is my messy place where my brain spills out on paper.”
To better understand human and animal forms, she researches anatomy on the Internet.
“I will look up images from the skeletal system to the muscle system and work up to the fur,” she said.
A sculptor as well, Jones learns about the skeleton to make the wire armature for Sculpy figures. The brand name for a kind of clay, Sculpy can be shaped and then baked to a solid form. Her exhibit features Sculpy pieces like dragons — lots of dragons. Jones really loves dragons.
“A dragon is an animal I really enjoy drawing,” she said. “I think they’re misunderstood. I draw a lot of happy dragons. I think there are good dragons and bad dragons.”
Jones doesn’t see her art as a teenage hobby, but a career she wants to keep pursuing. Right now she’s preparing more work for another Nutcracker Faire booth. People who like her sketches at the HCOA exhibit can buy prints there. She also will be selling Sculpy pieces, like little jellyfish or clockwork hearts. Jones’ cards can be found in Homer at Oodalolly and in Soldotna at the Orange Poppy. Jones has a coloring book planned, too, that will include cards to color.
“I’m thinking I’ll just continue to pursue my art in Homer,” Jones said. “I’d like to get my own store going to sell my stuff.”
Paver said Jones got a lot of support and advice from other artists on things like pricing and presentation. Paver’s description of Jones’ show fits not just the exhibit, but the new artist’s career.
“Brilliant. Not bad for 17,” she said.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.
Solo art show
by Felicity Jones
WHERE: HOMER COUNCIL ON THE ARTS,
355 W. PIONEER AVE.
WHEN: 1-5 P.M. MONDAY-FRIDAY
FOR MORE INFO: VISIT FROSTWHISKERSCRAFTS.COM
SHOW ENDS: NOV. 29
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