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Jeffrey Jones

Born in Atlanta in 1944, Jeffrey Jones moved to New York City in 1967 to be a professional artist — a statistically improbable goal which he nonetheless swiftly achieved. He began his career drawing for science fiction digest magazines and comics published by Warren, Gold Key and King. Learning from such master illustrators as Roy Krenkel, Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta, he soon became one of the most sought-after cover artists in the burgeoning fantasy book field, with the works of Robert E. Howard being a particular specialty.

In 1972 Jones launched the lyrical, exquisitely-drawn comic strip Idyl, which ran monthly in National Lampoon until 1975. The following year he joined fellow artists Bernie Wrightson, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith in renting a large loft in Manhattan to serve as a four-person studio. This creative space became a legend in the fantasy art and comic book communities, and its story was immortalized in the book The Studio, published by Roger Dean’s Dragon’s Dream Press in 1979.

After the dissolution of the Studio, Jones largely abandoned the commercial art world to concentrate on his personal artistic vision. The result has been a unique body of work documented in the books Yesterday’s Lily (1980), Age of Innocence (1994) and The Art of Jeffrey Jones (2002). He lives and paints in upstate New York.


17 Responses to “Jeffrey Jones”

  1. Nice documentary! You capture the essence of this artist’ passion.

  2. I take exception to the use of the pronoun “he” in speaking of Jeffrey Catherine Jones’ early work, and especially in saying that “He lives and paints in upstate New York.” No, “he” does not. She does. Ms. Jones has been living as a woman for many years now, and one cannot except an accurate film about her if the filmmakers fail to attend to such a critical detail as this.

    • thanks for pointing that out. though it is obviously the first thing one considers when addressing someone like Jeff, it has been a point of concern that his friends have discussed with him, and was approved by him. the issue has been mentioned on film as well, hoping it clarifies what he thinks about the whole thing.

      • How about something like this…
        “thanks for pointing that out. though it is obviously the first thing one considers when addressing someone like Catherine, it has been a point of concern that her friends have discussed with her, and was approved by her. the issue has been mentioned on film as well, hoping it clarifies what she thinks about the whole thing.”
        Would that be a possibility? …
        (Thank you Dana Marie Andra)

      • Part of the reason I believe for Catherine’s allowed use of those pronouns are based on the name recognition. Most people know Jeff, not Catherine. A business decision and not actual acceptance of male pronouns. It will be interesting to see the film and that explanation but I think what Dana Marie was trying to warn you of will come from the transgender community. As a transsexual artist of 30 years myself I find it distressing you still maintain the male pronouns but understand your need . My community will not and in fact may even boycott the film based on that single issue alone. Just so you know the issue is greater than even the subjects acceptance. You have made a point out of her transition so just know that is a political issue that is not easily sidestepped.

        I adore Catherine, I think she is as sweet a person as god makes so I have nothing but high hopes for you and the success of the film. It needs to be told. She is by all measurable terms as good and as any of the most important painters in our history. Whatever form she takes is her concern and our gift.

  3. …That being said, I wanted to add that i am thrilled that you are doing a documentary on the work and life of J/C.
    And i am really looking forward to it.
    Best of luck on the production.

  4. …and I’d take *exception* at the word “abandonded” in the sentence “…largely abandonded the commercial art world…” I understand using it, but is it apt? “…left the world of commercial art…” or “…moved away from the world of commercial art…”. Jeffrey has never, to my knowledge, “abandoned” anything…

    What a fun conversation this could become!

  5. While I don’t know JC personally, and would never presume to speak on her behalf, I have to believe that she is intimately involved in this production; you know, being the subject and all. If she had a problem with the use of pronouns, she would have said something. As to the idea that an entire community of transgender folk would boycott the film based solely on Jones’ continued use of Jeffrey, for whatever reason, that says more about the community than it does Jones, doesn’t it?

    And, of course, I agree with Michael; I can’t imagine Jeffrey Catherine Jones ever abandoning anything.

  6. Hi Rafael,

    I think you misunderstood. It had nothing to do with the use of previous names or professional ids. It had to do with gender markers. He , his him etc etc etc. It’s confusing I know but trust the concern was in earnest. The transgender community struggles against discrimination ,both political and personal, a 60% unemployment rate, 16x the violence and murder rate than average. Catherine’s acceptance or not is not really a part of that as the reaction would be to the film makers treatment of the gender issue. To artists , there is only the art of course so the outrage at my speculation was huge, assuming that it was a slight against Catherine but of course it wasn’t at all. It may have no relevance in this film depending on the film makers treatment but it is worth mentioning considering it is assumed to be included in the title as one of her “choices”.

    This film to my knowledge explores Catherine’s work mostly so while it may be of little consequence if it explores her gender change we shall see. It promises a reaction one way or the other and if most were honest is a fascinating aspect of the film. At the center of it all lies someone who I believe is one of the greatest artists who ever walked the planet. And I think she speaks pretty well for herself with her work.

  7. I “met” Jeffrey Catherine back in 2008 when I took a chance and emailed her to ask if she’d like to contribute some artwork to a little fantasy art book that my friend artist Finlay Cowan was producing. To my utter amazement, she actually responded and submitted 10 pieces for the book. The publisher bestowed upon me the task of taking the digital files and enhancing them, resizing them and getting them print-ready. It was one of the major high-lights of my art career to be sure. And to top it off, Jeffrey sent me a signed copy of her book “The Art of Jeffrey Jones”!! She and I still correspond on occasion and we’re now Facebook friends. I think this film is going to be great…and I think it’s an important film that must be made.

    So I’m making my monetary contribution and helping to spread the word amongst my fellow artists, most of whom were surely as inspired by Jeffrey’s artwork as I was…my friends who are fans of her work and my friends in the film industry.

    To be honest, I was surprised to hear of Jeffrey’s troubles when I went to check out her website a couple years ago and read that she was going through some major issues. I later found out about the gender change, the resulting nervous breakdown, the loss of her studio and art…It was heartbreaking. That was part of what spurred me to contact her to try and do something to lift her up.

    I personally don’t care if she’s a man or woman, a he or a she, a Jeffrey or a Catherine. It’s the artistic genius who occupies that body that matters most.

  8. So sad to hear of her death. ‘The Studio’ was one of the most influential books I ever bought and helped to form my decision to become a professional artist. I never met Jeff but I spoke with her often on email. She and her talent will be hugely missed.

  9. She’s gone??? Does anyone know what happened? First Frank Frazetta and now Jeffrey? What a huge loss to the fantasy art universe. Jeffrey Catherine and I emailed back and forth often and she sent me some artwork and a copy of her book. This is such a sad thing to hear.

  10. I just found out today that Jeffery Catherine Jones has passed away. This is a huge loss for the art world.
    She had an extraordinary vision and I will miss seeing her work.

    First Frank Frazetta now Jeff Jones. My 2 favorite artists are gone. RIP

    Steve Baker

  11. I would like to point out that Ms. Jones made it clear in the early days on her Facebook page that she had no preference to which gender or name that people chose to address her by. She graciously responded and shared her work to all of us regardless if we called her “Catherine”, “Jeffery”, “JC” or “Master”!

  12. Does anyone know if the film will resume production? Seems like finishing it would be a wonderful way to honor Jeffrey Catherine’s memory.

  13. It was an honor to transcribe this film. I felt the pain and the liberation he made of his life.

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