May 20, 2011

The Art of Frankenstein : Jeffrey Catherine Jones (1944-2011)

Sad news: Artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones passed away on May 19. She was 67.

The Atlanta-born artist settled in New York in the late Sixties, coming to prominence as an illustrator with a series of acclaimed paperback covers, mostly in the fantasy and sword and sorcery genres, executed in a signature ethereal style. Known then as Jeff Jones, the artist also contributed a unique stream of consciousness comic strip, Idyl, to National Lampoon.

In 1975, Jones, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith moved into a loft together, leading to a highly prolific period of artistic experimentation. Although the adventure lasted only three years, it attained legendary status through a vastly influential 1979 book, The Studio. By then, Jones had abandoned commercial illustration for fine arts.

Over the last decade, Jones’ output dried up due to health and personal issues. More recently, she had been active in social media and had begun sculpting and painting again. A documentary film, Better Things: Life + Choices of Jeffrey Jones, is currently in production.

Jones’ superb Frankenstein painting, undated, shows the Karloff Monster as a lonely figure in what appears to be a stripped-down set reminiscent of the classic movie towers with their interminable stairways. Though The Monster is posed off-center, the eye is resolutely drawn to the character with off-kilter lines, curved walls, stairs and brushstrokes, with a final framing splash of bright red.

Read a comprehensive biography and reminiscence of Jeffrey Catherine Jones on Tom Spurgeon’s The Comics Reporter.

Jeffrey Jones website is filled with great art.

Director Maria Cabardo’s MacAb Films Present carries news and film clips from the in-production documentary about Jeffrey Catherine Jones.

The Frankenstein illustration was found on the ever excellent Fantasy Ink blog.

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