“One thing I know: my art gives up its secrets uneasily, like a magician jealously guarding his tricks' mechanics. I know when I've accomplished a valid work when I'm sure the viewer will never tire of looking at it.”
– Jon Sarkin
Jon Sarkin (b. 1953) is an American artist, based in Gloucester, MA. His art is an unmediated outpouring of creativity emerging from a mysterious psychological space we all possess, but which is usually inaccessible. The door that world was unlocked for Jon by a catastrophic event, but what was lost was also accompanied by a new ability to communicate powerfully through visual art. The door to this other place for Jon remains open, and through it he continues to share his unique vision of the world.
Sarkin is best known for his frenetic and visually arresting images, which combine word and image. These paintings and drawings cross-hatch and scrawl their way through pop culture, rock ‘n’ roll, mundane life, and the realms of the unconscious.
Sarkin became an artist only in his mid-thirties after an epiphany of sorts, which is usually attributed to a catastrophic brain injury he suffered as a result of complications from an operation to ease pressure on his acoustic nerve caused by a swollen blood vessel. Like the explosion in his skull that brought about this change in his life, there was no gentle, or hesitant creative beginning, and art began to pour out of Sarkin, as it were, from the offset in a torrent of words and image.
His work is in many public and private collections, including The American Visionary Art Museum, the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou) in Paris, France.
In 2011, Pulitzer Prize winning author Amy Ellis Nutt wrote a book about Jon Sarkin, "Shadows Bright as Glass"
Colin Rhodes’ book, The Art of John Sarkin was published by the Henry Boxer Gallery in 2022.View the book online