Monday, August 15, 2011

The Erotic Imagination #3

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llhbbcmRVF1qzc87no1_500.jpgLike the visual equivalent of a Cocteau Twins album, the dreamy poetics of the late artist Jeff Jones one-page comic strip Idyl was the first sequential art that fueled my erotic imagination. Drawn for National Lampoon from 1972 to 1975, the strip featured a cast of nude characters that populated a poetic planet where fish could float through the air, animals talked and humans spoke in riddles.

http://spaceintext.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/jeff-jones-idyl-24.jpg?w=380&h=524Unlike more commercial female comic book characters that pandered to the budding libidos of young male fans (i.e. Power Girl), the graceful beauty of Jones' creation was its innocence. The nakedness of the characters within their atmospheric landscape was as pure as Adam and Eve prior to eating that damn apple.
Although I was only ten years old when I first discovered Idyl, there was a charming allure and exquisite weirdness in the work that kept me going back for more.

More than three decades later, the work Jones put into Idyl is still as fresh and exciting as it was then. What was obvious Jeff Jones' work was his obvious love for women. In Idyl as well as in his later paintings, the women in the work often seemed to be contemplating something heavy about life, love and death. Perhaps it was my own curiosity, but I always was intrigued by what was going on in their minds strange women.

Jones, an admirer of fantasy artists Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson, began his career painting paperback covers for romance, science fiction and sword & sorcery paperbacks before branching out to comics, fine art and sculptures. Drawing each Idyl strip in a beautiful pen and ink that resembled nothing else in comics at the time, there seemed to be an almost feminine, non-macho touch in both the drawing and writing style. While the images in Idyl were obviously erotic, there was nothing dirty about the the work; it was, and remains, simply beautiful.
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On May 19, 2011 Jeff Jones died. Below are two links about his interesting life and amazing art...

1. by Michael Nasser: http://michaelnetzer.com/mnop/?p=354

2. by Steve Ringgenberg : http://www.tcj.com/jeffrey-catherine-jones-a-life-lived-deeply
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