Works from ABC’s Medical Mysteries Jon Sarkin to be Featured at The Atlanta Folk Fest, presented by the Traylor-Post Gallery.
Some know Jon Sarkin as an artist savant. Others know him as a medical mystery. According to Ruthann Traylor and Michelle Post, founders of the Traylor-Post Gallery, “We see him as an incredibly talented visionary artist whose work we are delighted to exhibit at The Atlanta Folk Fest, August 20-22, 2010.
A former chiropractor, Sarkin’s transformation to artist occurred in 1988 when a sudden brain hemorrhage and stroke while golfing changed his life in an instant. Emerging from his near death experience, he awoke a different man both in body and spirit. He was deaf in one ear, his vision splintered and his balance skewed. Neurologists told him his brain had changed; it had been wounded, sliced up, and parts taken out. The neurons that were left had been forced to make new connections, find new meaning.
Eighteen months after his stroke, it became harder and harder for him to maintain the semblance of his former life. His mind wandered, and he preferred to doodle and draw instead of seeing patients. Most interestingly, he was overtaken with an effusive, unfocused desire to create art.
He describes himself as a neurological oddity. “I’m unable to see the world as a whole and unable to ignore it in its infinite detail. My brain tries to make sense of the world. Through colors, images and words, I try to make sense of the way I see things.”
When it comes to his art he says he cannot stop, nor does he want to stop. In fact, he is afraid to stop. He is an accidental artist, who needs to draw, to put it all down on paper. This is his engine––his purpose for living.
Sarkin’s experience has been documented on ABC’s Medical Mysteries, focus of an episode of This American Life and two BBC documentaries. His art has been featured in New Yorker Magazine and other notable media.
Tom Cruise bought the rights to his life story who is executive producing and starring in the film. His work is in the private collections of Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Diane Von Fursternberg, Meryl Streep to name a few.
Sarkin’s work and that of other outsider artists including Wayne Cunningham, Manfred Peil, Mary Carol Williams and Steve Slomko can be viewed at The Traylor-Post Gallery booth at The Atlanta Folk Fest, at the North Atlanta Trade Center, 1700 Jeurgens Court, Norcross, GA. Hours are Friday, August 20, 5 – 10 PM, Saturday, August 21, 10 AM – 7 PM and Sunday, August 22, 10 AM – 5 PM.