Garrett Jackson, father of three, Camdenton R-III teacher, and heir to an artistic legacy, wants anyone passing by his surreal expressions to stop and look. He wants to render viewers unable to “look away.”
Garrett Jackson, father of three, Camdenton R-III teacher, and heir to an artistic legacy, wants anyone passing by his surreal expressions to stop and look. He wants to render viewers unable to “look away.” He wants to grab the viewers’ attention, and he invites them to “look again” to take in the detail.
Details from one that Jackson has worked and reworked to a state that satisfies him is “The Ill Mind of Jackson 1,” where the central figure’s face is marred by an otherworld, one shaped by social media. Like a sticky spider web, the cyber world grips us all, often disconnecting us from each other, frequently tying us to our cell phones like an addiction. The result is that we miss the beauty of the world and gloss the dangers that could be headed our way. Such deeply personal and philosophical challenges and choices are Jackson’s subject.
Garrett prefers larger-than-life canvasses. He hopes to create mural-sized art in public spaces as graffiti or street artists do — but legally, of course. In fact, Jackson lists street artists such as “Saber” and “Os Gemos” as inspirational influences. Both employ bold, primary colors and heavy dark lines to “arrest” the passerby, to grab the viewers’ attention.
Art is a family affair for Jackson. He wants to create a “forever” body of work that many will enjoy now, but more important, one his children may use to understand their father’s evolving emotions and thoughts as he confronts the challenges and choices of daily life. Garrett’s children also make art — as Jackson himself did, following in the footsteps of a great-grandmother and his mother, both painters. His dad was crafty and one of the earliest promoters of Garrett’s work. While collaborating to draw a football field, Garrett began to add more dimension and shape to the players, prompting his dad to admire Garrett’s attention to detail and abilities to recreate them.
Sports are Jackson’s other love. He has a career in education as a wrestling coach as well as art teacher. Currently, he’s earning grades and hours to qualify for administrator slots. He also moonlights as a graphic designer for Independent Stave Company. In between all those demanding roles, he is a family man, devoted to wife Lauren and their children, dreaming of buying more supplies for more art.
Jackson’s current studio is in his garage, outfitted with an easel made from an old, cast-off coffee table, positioned side-by-side with a computer. With today’s technological gifts, Jackson uploads print drafts into an artist’s digital sketchbook. The computer allows him to revise and embellish. It also provides a reference for the same idea as it takes three-dimensional shape in tempera, acrylic, marker, pen, or pencil on canvas or wood.
Repurposed wood is the base for Jackson’s current exhibit at Lake Area Fine Art Academy and Galleria. On those found 2x3-foot panels, Jackson has created a set known as “Graffiti Girls,” each with its own title, however. This series proves Jackson’s gift for realistic figures. They also prove the Proverb: Eyes are the lamps of the soul.
The image titled “Lauren,” for example, suggests a pretty and thoughtful woman accustomed to analytical thinking. On the other hand, “Lexie,” equally lovely, seems braced for a confrontation. What is most intriguing are the patches or tattoos each figures wears. One across the mouth (upper right figure) seems to “silence” daring impulses within. Several seem to hint at the infrastructure that shaped the expression.
The result beckons the viewer to stop! look! and listen to the ideas resonating in his or her mind. Nothing would please Garrett Jackson more.
Look for Garrett Jackson on Instagram, Facebook, and at Lake Area Fine Art Academy and Galleria