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    Sarkin’s Unbounded Mural opens in Mullen’s “what if” Ad Campaign

    Click here to see. Sarkin’s Unbounded Mural opens in Mullen’s “what if” Add Campaign

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    Peabody Essex Museum on Sarkin

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    Aloe Be Thy Name – Opening at Law and Water Gallery

    Aloe Be Thy Name – Opening at Law and Water Gallery 


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    Cape Ann TV’s Portrait Series Features Jon Sarkin

    Check out this recent video of Jon Sarkin on Cape Ann TV. 


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    Jon Sarkin at Law and Water

    Check out Jon Sarkin’s work at Law and Water Gallery. 

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    Jon Sarkin in Psychology Today

    Check out the original article on Psychology Today 

    Psychology Today: Here to Help

    Can creative ability suddenly develop following brain damage?
    Published on April 29, 2013 by Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. in Media Spotlight


    Creativity and the Healing Brain

    For Jon Sarkin, it began in 1988 when he suddenly began experiencing tinnitus and abnormally sensitive hearing to certain sounds.   A successful chiropractor with a practice in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, Jon’s condition was linked a blood vessel pressing on his acoustic nerve.  Because of his worsening symptoms, he agreed to a delicate operation carried out by a Pittsburgh neurosurgeon in 1989.  During the operation however, he began hemorrhaging and experienced a massive stroke that left him comatose for weeks.   Doctors removed much of the left side of his brain and he had damage to his cerebellum as well.  Despite a long rehabilitation, he was left permanently deaf in one ear with slurred speech, double vision, and an impaired sense of balance that forced him to walk with a cane.

    Though he eventually returned to his practice in 1990, Sarkin found dealing with clients emotionally and physically exhausting despite frequent rest breaks.   He also spent more time “doodling” on his letterhead paper and eventually sold several doodles to the New Yorker.  After selling his practice in 1993, he decided to devote his time to drawing and caring for his three children while his wife acted as his interface with the outside world.  While his neurological symptoms never improved and despite bouts of depression, Jon Sarkin has established a reputation as an artist with his first New York art show in 2003 and a life story that has since been optioned by Tom Cruise’s movie production company.

    Can artistic ability suddenly develop as a result of brain disease?   Cases of “sudden artistic output” following brain injury are relatively rare but unexpected artistic talent emerging in brain patients  has been well-documented.   While savant syndrome found in people suffering from severe learning disorders such as autism has become well-recognized through movies such as Rain Man,  acquired savant syndrome, when a new talent suddenly develops in adults following illness is still poorly understood.

    Along with brain injury and stroke, cases of acquired savant syndrome have been identified following frontotemporal dementiatemporal lobe disease, and most recently, Parkinson’s Disease.   In a new review article published in Behavioral NeuroscienceRivka Inzelberg of Tel Aviv University describes a number of  cases of Parkinson’s patients suddenly developing new literary or artistic skills.

    Although it is unclear whether this can be related to the actual disease or the dopamine treatment the patients received,  these cases are even more remarkable considering the severe motor problems many of them experience due to Parkinson symptoms.   While some cases involved patients who had artistic ability prior to their illness, onset of Parkinson’s Disease led to a radical change in the quality of the art they produced despite hand tremors or other problems.

    According to one patient described by Susan Pinker who had been a regular painter before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, her paintings were enhanced by her illness and even felt that her dopamine medication may have played a role in improving her artistic output.  “The new style is less precise but more vibrant.” she said, adding that “I have a need to express myself more.”

    In Parkinson’s patients at least, the fundamental question is whether the new creativity is linked to the disease or dopamine medications such as L-Dopa.   Too much dopamine can lead to Dopamine Dysregulation Syndrome (DDS) with symptoms such as reduced inhibition, sexual acting out, and obsessive compulsive behaviours.  That can include compulsive writing, drawing, or other creative outlets.  In many patients, these creative skills tend to rise as the dopamine levels in their brains increase and can then become reduced as their medications are cut back to curb other unwelcome symptoms.   A recent study examining the link between Parkinson’s disease and creativity suggests that this creativity is completely separate from the impulsive behaviour seen in DDS patients and not a sign of illness as some clinical researchers suggested.   This is welcome news to newly-creative Parkinson’s patients who expressed fear that cutting back on medication might eliminate their creativity.

    In exploring possible reasons for increased creativity in Parkinson’s patients, Rivka Inzelberg raised several suggestions that may well apply to other cases of acquired savant syndrome in brain-injured patients as well.   Inzelberg suggests that disinhibition may hold the key to understanding this increased creativity.  Not quite the same thing as impulsivity, disinhibition involves the rejection of social norms and acting out in ways that are “riskier” than they normally would.  Often seen in manic patients, people who are less inhibited are more likely to overcome any doubts they might have about their artistic ability.  They simply write or paint for their own pleasure rather than worrying about what other people might think of their work.  Even in patients with no previous artistic ability, the wish to do something novel can lead to them experimenting with new ways of expressing themselves, often when many of their previous activities are blocked by their symptoms.

    Creativity is also a useful way of coping with anxiety since it provides a patient with an outlet to accomplish something worthwhile and to gain confidence.   Many patients with temporal and frontal lobe disorders can find themselves producing new writing or artwork even when it has little importance to anyone but themselves.  One example of this is thehypergraphia found in some temporal lobe patients  involving an overwhelming urge to write.  While some noteworthy cases such as Vincent Van Gogh and Fyodor Dostoevsky are well-known, most hypergraphia sufferers produce millions of words which may never have any literary value.

    While patients can be encouraged to engage in painting, drawing, writing or other creative activity as part of occupational therapy, this activity needs to be carefully monitored to make sure that these new skills improve the quality of their lives and not be taken to extremes.

    Understanding how this new creative drive affects the healing brain can teach us much about the nature of creativity, whether in brain patients or in neurologically healthy individuals.   These insights may well help researcherrs learn how changes in the brain can lead to enhanced creativity, whether it takes the form of artistic, literary, or musical ability.   Understanding how new talents develop may help us explore some of the many mysteries associated with why creativity happens.

    To Check out entire

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    Sarkin’s work for sale on Esty.

    Sarkin’s work for sale on Esty.Get it quick!

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    Jon Sarkin at Law and Water Gallery August 17th.

    August 17th at Law and Water Gallery with Jon Sarkin and othersScreen Shot 2013-08-09 at 1.22.38 PM

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    Sarkin Photos

    Great photos of Sarkin as taken by Liam King over the years.  Check them out at jsarkin.com/photos

    If you’re interested in high-resolution photos of Jon’s art, check out at jsarkin.com/art.

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    Sarkin’s Resume

       JON  SARKIN

    94R Main Street

    Rockport, MA  01930

    (978) 282-0334

    cell:  (978) 888-5320




    1967-71:  The Pingry School, Elizabeth, NJ (now in Martinsville, NJ)

    1971-75: Univ. of Penn. (BA, Biology)

    1975-77:  Rutgers Univ. (MS, Environmental Science)

    1977-80:  Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, IA

      (DC {Doctor of Chiropractic})

    EXHIBITIONS (asterisk indicates solo exhibition):

    *Mar., 2012:  The Pingry School, Martinsville, NJ
    *Jan. – Mar., 2012:  Open Door Gallery,  Boston
    *Dec., 2011:  Princeton Day School, Princeton, NJ
    *April 2011:  PEAC Gallery, Pennington, NJ
    *Feb., 2011:  Traylor Gallery, Hightstown, NJ
    July 2010:  Bass Rocks Beach Club, Gloucester, MA 

    Mar. – Apr. 2010:  Straube Gallery, Princeton, NJ

    *Sept. 2009:  Blackburn Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    Sept. 2009:  Traylor Gallery, Princeton, NJ

    May 2009:  Riverfront Gallery, Millville, NJ

    Sept. – Oct. 2008:  The Pingry School, Martinsville, NJ

    *Sept. 2008:  Bait and Tackle Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    *Aug. – Oct. 2008:  Shrine Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    July 2008:  Bass Rocks Beach Club, Gloucester, MA 

    July 2008:  Flat Rocks Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    July 2008:  Blackburn Performing Arts Center, Gloucester, MA

    July 2008:  Jane Deering Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    June 2008:  Bob Woolf Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    *Apr. 2008:  Home of Martin B. O’Connor II, New Vernon, NJ

    Feb. 2008:  Novas Centre, Liverpool, England

    Oct. 2007:  Philoctetes Center, New York

    July 2007:  Bass Rocks Beach Club, Gloucester, MA

    Mar. 2007:  Jane Deering Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA

    *Sept. 2006:  Bigzanda Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    Apr. – Aug. 2006:  Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA

    Aug. 2006:  Jane Deering Gallery, Boston

    July 2006:  Jane Deering Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    *July 2006:  Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles

    July 2006:  Bass Rocks Beach Club, Gloucester, MA

    Mar. 2007:  Jane Deering Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA

    *Sept. 2005:  Artspace Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    *Aug. 2005:  Bigzanda Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    July – Aug. 2005:  Jane Deering Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    Mar. 2005:  Jane Deering Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA

    *Apr. 2005:  The Revolving Museum, Lowell, MA

    July – Aug. 2004:  Jane Deering Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    *Dec. 2004:  For Rent Gallery, Gloucester, MA

    *Nov.  2004:  The Pingry School, New Vernon, NJ

    *Nov. 2003:  Jim Budman Gallery, New York

    *July 2003:  Sunny Day Gallery, Gloucester MA

    *Mar. 2003:  Home of Martin B. O’Connor II, New Vernon, NJ 

    Apr. 2003:  Diane von Furstenburg Gallery, New York

    May 2000:  School Street Gallery, Rockport, MA

    Oct. 1999:  School Street Galllery, Rockport, MA

    Apr. 1999:  Organization of Independent Artists, New York 


    Papers of Calvin Tomkins (The New Yorker Art Critic),  

    Museum of Modern Art, New York

    Tom Cruise (Actor), Los Angeles

    Graydon Carter (Editor of Vanity Fair), New York

    Annie Leibovitz (Photographer), New York

    Bryan Lourd (Film Agent), Los Angeles

    Paula Wagner (Head of United Artists Films), Los Angeles

    Kevin Huvane (Film Agent), Los Angeles

    Richard Lovett (Film Agent), Los Angeles

    Billy Ray (Screenwriter), Los Angeles

    Robert Bookman (Literary Agent), Los Angeles

    Diane von Furstenburg (Fashion Designer), New York

    Barry Diller (Media Mogul), New York

    Mullen Advertising, Boston

    Mark Wenneker (Creative Director, Mullen Advertising, Boston)

    Alice Flaherty, MD (Neurologist, Author), Boston

    Ira Glass (Radio Personality), Chicago

    Amy Ellis Nutt (Journalist, Author), Newark, NJ

    Jennifer Brown (Photographer), Newark, NJ

    Andre Malok (Graphic Designer), Newark, NJ

    Tony Millionaire (Artist), Pasadena, CA

    Willie Alexander (Recording Artist), Gloucester, MA

    Chris Lydon (Radio Personality), Boston

    Jane Deering (Art Dealer), Boston

    Mac Bell (Real Estate Developer), Gloucester, MA

    Chris Brady (Chart Group), New York

    Frank Shephard (Chart Group), New York

    Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA

    Revolving Museum, Lowell, MA

    The Pingry School, Martinsville, NJ 

    Brian Rosenworcel (of the band Guster)

    Adam Gardner (Guster)

    Ryan Miller (Guster)


    “Zine Dreams,” New York Times Magazine, David Gross, Dec. 3. 1996 

    “Metamorphosis,” GQ , Andrew Corsello, Jan., 1997:  http://jsarkin.com/news/articles/metamorphosis/

    “Tom Cruise Buys Stroke Victim’s Story,” Mr. Showbiz,  Anonymous, Feb. 2, 1997

    “Cruise Could Play Stroke Victim,” E! Online, Jeff B. Copeland, Feb. 5, 1997

    “Hunting for the Sark,” The Finger, Sam Pratt, Apr. 20, 1998

    “Artist Unleashed,” The Penn Gazette, Susan Lonkevich, May, 1999: 


    “Artistic Lightning,” Awakenings, Terri Knudsen, May 24, 1999

    “Interview with Jon Sarkin,” The Boston Globe MagazineJohn Koch, May 9, 1999

    “Seven Questions for Jon Sarkin,” Seven Questions, Tom Mangan, Jan., 2000

    “An Oscar Story in the Making:  The Life Tom Cruise Just Had to Have,”

       The New York Post, Peter Sheridan, March 26, 2000:  http://jsarkin.com/news/articles/an-oscar-story-in-the-making-the-life-story-tom-cruise-just-had-to-have/

    “A Stroke of Genius,” North Shore Weekly, Linda Roth, June 4, 2000

    “Sight and Sound,” ARTnews, Elisabeth Morse, July, 2000

    “An Explosion That Changed Everything,” The London Telegraph,

       James Langton, Jan. 20, 2001:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4721106/An-explosion-that-changed-everything.html

    “Heady Stuff,” Town Online, David Rattigan, Aug. 24, 2001

    “Art out of Adversity,” Backroads of New England (Book Excerpt), Chris Spurling, 2001

    “Getting a Good Laugh out of Life,” Gloucester Daily TimesGreg Cook, Feb. 12, 2003

    “Stroke of Genius,” Newark Star-Ledger, Amy Ellis Nutt, Apr. 25, 2003:  http://jsarkin.com/news/stroke-of-genius-jon-sarkin-is-an-artist-and-no-one-knows-exactly-how-it-happened/

    “The Art of Healing:  Jon Sarkin’s Kinetic Vision,” Vanity Fair,

    Kevin Sessums, May, 2003:  http://jsarkin.com/news/articles/the-art-of-healing-jon-sarkins-kinetic-vision/

    “The Awakening of Dr. Jonathan Sarkin, Artist,” Pingry ReviewRenee Walker, Nov., 2004:


    “Life Through Paint and Canvas,” Gloucester Daily TimesGail McCarthy, Nov. 20, 2004: http://jsarkin.com/news/articles/life-through-paint-canvas/

    “Stroke of Genius,” Reader’s Digest, Ellen Sherman, Sep., 2005:  http://jsarkin.com/news/stroke-of-genius/

    “A Changed Man,” The Boston Globe, Geoff Edgers, June 11, 2006: http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2006/06/11/a_changed_man/ 

    “Jon Sarkin:  An Audio Slide Show,” The Boston Globe WebsiteJune 11, 2006:


    “Melding Art, Music and Words, ‘Big Top Road’ takes Cape Ann on a Ride

    This  Weekend,” Gloucester Daily Times, Gail McCarthy, Oct. 12, 2006:   


    “The Science of Art,” Neurology Now, Linda Carroll, Nov.-Dec., 2006:  http://patients.aan.com/resources/neurologynow/?event=home.articlePDF&id=ovid.com:/bib/ovftdb/01222928- 200602060-00020

    “Local Artist Honored for Overcoming Disability with his Art,”  Gloucester Daily Times, Matthew Webster, 

    March 13, 2007:  http://newsandtribune.com/archive/x518741152 

    “Painting the Mind,” Four Corners (Australia) June, 2007:  http://jsarkin.com/news/painting-the-mind/  

    “Sarkin Photo, Explained,” The Exhibitionist, Geoff Edgers, June 26, 2007

    “A Rewired Mind” (Audiovisual Slide Show), Gloucester Daily Times,

        Oct. 2, 2007:  http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x1876395009/ONE-VOICE-A-rewired-mind

    “Sarkin and McHugh at Novas Centre,” Novas Website, April 27, 2008

    “Artist and Poet Jon Sarkin ’71 Donates His Time and Talent,”

    The Pingry School, May 6, 2008:  http://jsarkin.com/news/articles/gary-baum-interviews-sarkin/

    “Jon Sarkin Hosts First Art Show on Rocky Neck,” Gloucester Daily Times, August 28, 2008

    “On the Brain,” Publishers Weekly, Matthew Thorton, Oct. 27, 2008

    “An Accidental Artist,” Newark Star Ledger, Amy Nutt, Nov. 23, 2008:  


    “Chat with ‘Accidental Artist’ Author Amy Ellis Nutt,” Newark Star Ledger On-line, Brian Donohue, Dec. 9. 2008: http://www.nj.com/ledgerlive/index.ssf/2008/12/union_couple_are_mega_millions.html  

    “Jon Sarkin:  A Medical Mystery and Artistic Savant,” Adam Klappholz, 

    GQ On-line, Dec. 18. 2008:  http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2008/12/jon-sarkin-artist-savant

    “From Stroke Victim to Commissioned Artist:  The Curious Case of Jon Sarkin, Adam Klappholz, GQ On-line

      June 18, 2009:   http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2009/06/from-stroke-victim-to-commissioned-artist-the-curious-case-of-jon-sarkin

    “Unbound Creativity,” mullen.com, June 5, 2009:  http://www.mullen.com/2009/06/tumbling-dice-an-artists-theme-song-for-unbound-creativity/

    “Unbound,” Videography by Jess Pearson, Youtube, June 19, 2009:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx7gcfhyHbY

    “Jon Sarkin at Mullen Advertising,” Videography by Jess Pearson, Youtube, June 19, 2009

    “Jon Sarkin Donates Art to WGBH Auction,” Youtube, May, 2010

    “Tour of Jon Sarkin’s Studio,” YoutubeApril 27, 2010

    “Life in a Day,” Youtube, July 24, 2010     

    “Interview with Terry Gross on NPR re:  my biography, Shadows Bright as Glass, by Amy Ellis Nutt, NPR’s Fresh 

     Air, May, 2011:   http://www.npr.org/2011/04/18/135509114/jon-sarkin-when-brain-injuries-transform-into-art

    “Broad Brushstrokes Obscure a View of Brain Trauma,” (Review of Shadows Bright as Glass), Abigail Zuger, 

     New York Times, May 31, 2011:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/health/31zuger.html 

    “Mental Images,” Jan. 18, 2012, CHS Research Bulletin,, Alexandra Pappas:     http://wp.chs.harvard.edu/chs-fellows/2012/01/18/mental-images/

    “Jon Sarkin:  Compulsive Creativity,” wineandbowties.com:     http://www.wineandbowties.com/art/jon-sarkin-compulsive-creativity/

    “Six People Who Gained Amazing Skills From Brain Injuries,” cracked.com, Dec. 1. 2011:  http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/cracked-com-features-our-boy-jon-sarkin/

    “Healing Arts, Healing Hands,” Dec. 1, 2011, Today’s Chiropractic, Katie Brown:  


    Wikipedia entry:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Sarkin

    “Showcasing the Work of an Outsider Artist,” Jan. 31, 2012, Boston Globe, Cate McQuaid: http://articles.boston.com/2012-01-31/arts/31008278_1_disabled-artists-outsider-artists-scrawls


    The New Yorker

    Penn Gazette

    CD Cover: “Dog Bar Yacht Club,”  Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band

    CD Cover:  “Light City,” Dan King

    CD Cover:  “Western Lands,” Dan King

    CD Cover:  “Easy Wonderful,” Guster

    CD Cover:  “Welcome to the Carnival,” Bandit Kings


    “The Connection,” (Chris Lydon, host), WBUR-FM

    This American Life, (Ira Glass, host), WBUR-FM

    BBC:  The World,” WGBH-FM


    “Chronicle,” WCVB-TV (Boston)

    “Stroke,” Discovery Channel

    “Painting the Mind,” Australian and British TV

    “Medical Mysteries,” ABC-News

    “My Strange Brain,” Granada TV (UK)

    “Profiles,” Cape Ann (MA) TV


    “What’s Your Story:  Jon Sarkin at The Budman Studio, August, 

       2002,” Beautiful Films 


        *The rights to my life story have been purchased by United Artists for

            a film to be developed by Tom Cruise’s production company.  A script 

            has been written and a director has been chosen.

         *A website about me has been established.  Its URL is  www.jsarkin.com.

          *A biography is being written about me by Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Ellis Nutt.  Release date is April, 2011.

    *In 2005, I taught a master class at The Revolving Museum in Lowell, MA. 

    *In 2000 and 2001, I was an artist-in-residence at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.

    *From 2005 – 2009, I have been an artist-in-residence at The Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ, where, I have taught both art and English.

    *I am currently writing my autobiography.


    *I am currently writing an illustrating a novel.

    *In 2007, I was awarded a Wynn Newhouse Foundation prize for artists with disabiltiies.

    *I have written dozens of volumes of poetry.

    *I have produced several hours of music.

    *I starred in a multimedia show, Big Top Road, at the West End Theater in Gloucester, MA in October of 2006.   It featured the musicians Dave Mattucks on drums (George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Richard Thompson, Fairport Convention, Roseanne Cash, XTC), David Brown, guitar (Billy Joel, Paul McCartney), Wolf Ginandes, bass (Light City), Dan King, guitar (Light City), and Matt Webster, soundscapes.

    *I was featured in the film “Polis is This:  The Life and Poetry of Charles Olson,” by filmaker Henry Ferrini.

    *I was in the short film “The Ghost of Dogtown, by film-maker Chad Carlberg.

    * I wrote a concert review abiout Bob Dylan that was published on The Boston Globe website.

    *I created a music video (“I Never Wanted Everything”) for the musician Sten Bowen

    in August of 2007 (Available on Youtube).

    *I was the guest artist for the comic strip Maakies, by artist Tony Millionaire.

    *I acted in the short film “Daniel” by film-maker Emile Doucette (Available on Youtube).

    *I created a mural (26′ X 5′) for Mullen Advertising in Boston.

    *I did a large painting as the backdrop for a music video by the guitarist David Patterson. This video is currently in production.

    *From 2008 – 2012, I’ve donated artwork to an on-air auction on WGBH-TV (Boston).

    *I served on a committee at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston that was forming an interdisciplinary program between doctors and artists.

    *I did a music video with the band Guster in August, 2010.   

    *I’ve done two performance art pieces while the band Guster plays:  one at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in March, 2011, and one at the Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ in March of 2012. 

    *I designed a shirt for the Large Pelagics Research Center in Gloucester, MA.

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