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From the Blog of La vita Alessandria

From the Blog of La vita Alessandria


Jon Sarkin: Born in Hillside, NJ, 1953. He was a chiropractor for many years and one day in 1998 while golfing, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and a stroke that nearly killed him. To save him, the doctors removed part of his cerebellum. He became a changed man, emerging with a changed personality and a great compulsion to create artwork.

Mr. Sarkin and Dan King have been friends for a number of years.

Dan asked if we could visit Jon’s studio and he kindly agreed to a tour:

There is art everywhere and in many formats–on old pieces of cardboard, slips of paper, pieces of wood…you name it. Everything becomes a canvas.

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We wandered from room to room taking it all in. He enthusiastically spoke of his current, and future projects as we sorted through his works….

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This piece caught my eye as well as Kim’s. It’s a compilation of quotes by George Bernard Shaw.

Dan King acted as our go between. He approached Mr. Sarkin and asked if he would sell us the “Shaw” piece. It was destined for a showing that he will be doing in Ireland later this year.

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Lucky for us, he did agree to sell the piece.
His comment: “I’ll just do something else.” I don’t know if it will ever become Picassoesque; I really don’t care. It was just very wonderful to meet him and have him allow us into his world for a bit of time. Like Mr. Picasso, Mr. Sarkin MUST produce art–some we understand, some we don’t. But what a wonderful thing that people like Pablo and Jon can express themselves and the rest of us can find intrigue and emotional releases from their expressions.

Posted by La vita Alessandria at 8:07 PM


Barbara said…

Fascinating post! Jon Sarkin’s work looks really interesting, and the inclusion of words and letters throughout his work reminds me of the work of artists at Gateway Arts in Brookline. The artists, who are mentally/psychiatrically/developmentally disabled, produce a wide range of “outsider art.” Gateway is a studio as well as gallery and shop for them to sell their work. (I am a volunteer on their Board.) Anyway, I like Sarkin’s style very much, and let me know if he has a local (Massachusetts) show.

January 23, 2011 5:26 AM

Extended Biography

EXTENDED BIOGRAPHY:  What follows is a narrative of my life that fleshes out the skeletal details found in a “just-the-facts” resume-type bio:

*April, 1953:  I am born in Newark, NJ.  My father, Stanley, grew up in New York, the son of Russian immigrants, and became a dentist.  My mom, Elaine, was the daughter of folks who settled in Elizabeth, NJ.  We reside in Hillside, NJ.  I had an older brother, Richard, who was born in 1950, and have a younger sister, Jane, born in 1959.  My brother was a pediatrician and my sister is an editor at Vanity Fair.

*November, 1960:  JFK is elected.  This makes a big impression because it was so huge for my parents.  Truly a “new frontier.”

*November, 1963:  Kennedy is assasinated.  This makes a much, MUCH bigger impression.  The most indelible memory is watching his funeral procession on TV.  My father came home from work about the same time as this riderless black horse with empty boots placed backwards in the stirrups went by the cameras.  He started to cry.  I’d never seen him cry before.

*1964:  The Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan.  They perform “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” which may be my favorite song.  The Beatles changed my life.  They really did.  I don’t think it’s necessary to explain this.

*June, 1968:  After Bobby Kennedy is shot, his funeral train, traveling from New York (his funeral was held at St. Patrick’s) to Washington goes right by my house, and my dad takes my brother and I to watch it.

*September, 1970:  I see The Grateful Dead at The Fillmore East in New York.  Jimi Hendrix died the day before, so before The Dead comes on, they put a big image of him on the screen, and blast “Foxy Lady.”  Again, I don’t think it’s necessary to explain why I’m including this.

*November, 1972:  My father dies of a heart attack at age 49.  This is by far the biggest thing that’s happened to me up til now.  When I turned 50, man, it was like falling off a cliff.

*June, 1986:  Kim and I get married.  This, and the birth of my kids, is the best thing that’s happened to me.  There’s really no contest.

*January, 1988:  Curtis is born.

*August, 1989:  I have a stroke.  I don’t know what to say about this.  I guess I should say something.

*August, 1991:  Robin is born.

*August, 1994:  Caroline is born.

*October, 2004:  My brother is killed in a plane crash.  How bad did THIS suck?

I don’t like to end on this note,  I mean, after all, my life has not sucked totally, and ending on this note sorta makes it seem that way, doesn’t it?  The whole art thing is pretty cool, don’t you think? And my kids are great.  And Kim, well, she ROCKS!


Sarkin’s art on display at Straube Center in Pennington, NJ



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