Galleries : Sketches of Lennon: A conversation with Yoko Ono
While everyone knows John Lennon the staggeringly influential songwriter, few are familiar with John Lennon the mischievous and whimsical doodler.
After his death, Yoko Ono, his wife and collaborator, pledged to bring Lennon's artistic talent to the public in a meaningful way. And she has.
"John, when he was here with us, made a great effort to show his artwork, and he was not very successful," says Ono in a phone conversation from her farm in upstate New York. "And when he passed away, I felt that it was my responsibility to make sure that his artwork was known...The thing is, most people know John as a musician and a writer, and he's a brilliant one at that, but he was also a very good artist."
Ono speaks candidly and excitedly, describing her husband's personality and creative process. She is easy to speak with, sounding eager to discuss Lennon's lesser-known mode of expression.
Explaining why Lennon's art may not have been embraced in the '60s and '70s, she says, "Most artists, in those days especially, were not very fun. They were very serious. When it was fun or had a sense of humor, people didn't think it was good art - it's very interesting that way. Now I think that animation is something they do in the serious art world a lot."
Ono created an exhibit of her late husband's work, which has been touring the country for 17 years - "Has it been 17 years?" she marvels. "I wasn't counting, but that's a long time."
This weekend, Come Together: The Art Work of John Lennon arrives on the Vineyard at Mansion House in Vineyard Haven. One of the largest collections of Lennon's art, the exhibit contains original drawings as well as lithographs and serigraphs, encompassing his output from 1968 to 1980. The work includes lyrics from Lennon's songs as well as comic sketches of animals that Lennon made for his son, Sean, born in 1975. It will be exhibited throughout the weekend with a $2 suggested donation at the door, which benefits the Island Food Pantry.
"He has the same kind of edge in his drawings and in his music," Ono says. "And there's an incredible sense of humor, and most times it's sort of like a black humor."