For some, art is a piece of writing, a painting on a wall or simply a note played on a guitar. For Dean Jones, it’s all of the above. His eclectic mix of artwork is what sets him a part from others, as his large pieces of eco ply lathered in a mix of paper, ink and resin are matched with a one off, improvised performance with his band. And what better place for this style of art than that of Melbourne’s favourite little rock ‘n’ roll haunt – Cherry Bar. We caught up with Dean to chat about his installation/exhibition/performance Boarded Up, which will be on display/performed ahead of the upcoming CherryRock012 Festival in Melbourne’s AC/DC Lane.
“I am so humbled by the folk involved with Cherryrock012 allowing my exhibition to attach to the movement; providing the roll to the rock; for me a natural collaboration, as I am adverse to exhibiting in stale outdated galleries”, says Dean about his involvement. Dean’s passion for art began as a child at the age of twelve, winning an open division art prize, but due to having Air Force parents he was constantly relocating making it hard to fit in. So he did what most young boys do and that was play competitive sport. This led him to spend the next fifteen years living in Europe as an elite cyclist. A lifestyle much different to now, although he still immersed himself in the arts, seeking sketches and concept drawings from artist such as Rembrandt, and decided to pursue a new with his own work.
“My influences in the world of art was and still is the journals and ink sketches from Brett Whiteley, and the single rapid works from Picasso interwoven with Kerouac’s immediacy in story telling and rants of thoughts; I guess the pure honesty of each of these artists/entertainers has tagged itself in my work”, explains Dean. Like him, Dean’s artwork is bold, unforgiving and unique. Audiences can expect a personal, spontaneous ‘one night only’ style exhibition, as Dean explains, “As my work is all word based, I incorporate an improvised performance with the exhibition, which is never the same making each show unique, never to be repeated, so the audience are getting something personal. All my work is formed from original text from my poems, sonnets, songs, rants and raves, prose and short ditties, creating pages in the book that is each exhibition”.
Dean’s pieces are of considerable size, measuring at 2400mm x 1200mm each (plus one twice the size), all crafted on 12mm eco ply, and are available for purchase at the exhibition. The live performance by, ‘The Gang’, are all unknown to each other, and there is no chance of a rehearsal to gain familiarity. Sounds like a musician’s worst nightmare, huh? Well, for Dean the unknown in the improvised performance is, “The binding agent; the sweaty palm of fear of what might happen; creating an intensity, which can never be replicated again. In a sense, I’m the conductor of this gang of Punk Jazz in that the words, which only I know, are the emotive trigger for the happening!” Each musical piece is matched to a specific painting, and to further his artistic adventure, once that painting is sold, the music can never be replayed again. Even the members of the band play some sort of role in the making of his art, as they are anointed a colour such as Mr. Pink, Mr. Red, Mr. Black and Mr. White, and picked for a specific role only known to Dean.
To better explain his artwork, Dean says, “Each painting carries the power of text; the emotion of words firing like bullets through the visual weight of meaning. A truly improvised performance linking in with my artwork; creating a three tiered sense of seeing, hearing, and saying to the work. The performance acts as a mezzanine layer over the art, giving each piece it’s own personality, explanation and movement!” It’s obvious that Dean takes great care in every intricate aspect of his work. Given the spontaneous nature of his art, Dean wishes audiences to make their minds up instantly regarding their love or hate towards it. First impressions play a major role in this exhibition, because you actually won’t ever get a chance to witness it again!
Along with his pieces of artwork, Dean’s spoken-word, improve-beat-music performance is of an extraordinary value. Audiences are encouraged to, “stand back and see; stand up and read; absorb a message; take in a thought and hum a song; speak the spoken and echo to the point of stepping back, and getting what you need from each piece.” It’s often hard to understand Dean’s obscure insight into art, whether it is as the creator or the observer, but what is clear is his passion for what he creates, and the undeniable uniqueness of the end product. Covering all corners from the creative world, Boarded Up promises to have a little something for almost everyone. Come to witness an inimitable rock ‘n’ roll style exhibition, stay to meet Mr. Pink.
BY JENNABELL TAYLOR
Boarded Up is exhibited at AC/DC Lane on Saturday April 28 (Cherry Rock eve!). The exhibition opens 6pm, with live music taking place at 8pm. Free entry.