Shadows Bright Archive


Guster/Sarkin perform at Pingry

Guster Dazzles with Virtuosity and Versatility
Posted 04/04/2012 03:10PM

There was a piano. There was a gong. There was an organ. There was a trumpet. Not to mention guitars, an electric guitar, a harmonica, drums, percussion, a violinist, and a cellist. This was not the typical rock concert—this was Guster, featuring Adam Gardner ’91, Brian Rosenworcel, Ryan Miller, and Luke Reynolds, performing in Pingry’s Hauser Auditorium on March 30 as part of the 150th Anniversary Lecture and Performance Series.

The band performed a number of its songs, including “Do You Love Me?” for which the audience leapt to its feet and clapped along (the audience continued to stand for the encore, when the band donned Pingry T-shirts). Mr. Gardner and his colleagues took requests and shared humorous comments with the audience, including Mr. Gardner’s story about telling Varsity Soccer Head Coach Miller Bugliari ’52 (that day) that “I’m playing music!” after Mr. Bugliari told Mr. Gardner in his junior year to focus on his ball skills to get into college. Another impressive aspect of the concert was the rigorous playing of the violinist and cellist, Charlene and April.

Joining Guster was artist Dr. Jon Sarkin ’71, a frequent collaborator with the group, who spent the concert sketching an image that resembled a large bull’s-eye…a red center surrounded by shades of green, orange, blue, yellow, and purple. The evening’s third Pingry connection was Pulitzer Prize-winning author Amy Ellis Nutt, daughter of David Nutt ’40, who signed copies of her book about Dr. Sarkin, Shadows Bright as Glass.

Incidentally, the name “Guster” is a fabrication: the band members met at Tufts University and initially called themselves “Gus.” To distinguish themselves from other “Gus” bands that had already signed with major labels, they later added “ter.”

Look for further coverage of Guster’s concert in an upcoming issue of The Pingry Review.

Top photo: Guster, with Adam Gardner ’91 third from left.
Middle photo: Guster performing its encore.
Bottom photo: Dr. Jon Sarkin ’71 sketching artwork during the concert.


“Showcasing the work of an outsider artist”

Maybe you’ve heard of Jon Sarkin. A former chiropractor, he had a brain hemorrhage back in the late 1980s, followed by a stroke that nearly killed him, and he came through the ordeal an artist with an antic need to create. He has received a lot of media attention, not so much for his art as for his story, and last year a biography of Sarkin came out, “Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man’s Journey From Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph,’’ by Amy Ellis Nutt.

But what about his art?

Check out the rest of the article here


Book talk with Jon and Amy “Shadows Bright as Glass” at The Bookstore on Main St. Gloucester 5/12/11 at 7:00pm

Jon will be discussing his biography “Shadows Bright as Glass” at “The Bookstore” on Main St. in Gloucester on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00pm with its author, Amy Nutt.


Sarkin, Nutt on NPR’s “Fresh Air” (audio)

Jon Sarkin and Amy Ellis Nutt were on NPR’s “Fresh Air” on Monday, April 18 at 3:00 EST to discuss their book, “Shadows Bright as Glass.”

Check out the interview here


Sarkin Biography featured at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books A Million

Barnes and Noble is promoting “Shadows Bright as Glass”  both on their front of store new arrivals tables in all of their stores, from April 5 through 18th, and then again on a special table they call their “thought provoking” books promotion, which will be from May 12 through June 8.


Amazon is including “Shadows Bright as Glass” in what they call a dynamic email, which is where they promote new releases to buyers, they’ll also be doing a feature on the web page, and those promotions are scheduled to run on and off from April 1 through the 30th.


Books A Million is featuring “Shadows Bright as Glass” on their new release tables from April 5 through 17th.


Book Browse: Shadows Bright as Glass

Shadows Bright as Glass
The Remarkable Story of One Man’s Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph
by Amy E Nutt
Published in USA
5 Apr 2011,
288 pages. 



On a sunny fall afternoon in 1988, Jon Sarkin was playing golf when, without a whisper of warning, his life changed forever. As he bent down to pick up his golf ball, something strange and massive happened inside his head; part of his brain seemed to unhinge, to split apart and float away. For an utterly inexplicable reason, a tiny blood vessel, thin as a thread, deep inside the folds of his gray matter had suddenly shifted ever so slightly, rubbing up against his acoustic nerve. Any noise now caused him excruciating pain.

After months of seeking treatment to no avail, in desperation Sarkin resorted to radical deep-brain surgery, which seemed to go well until during recovery his brain began to bleed and he suffered a major stroke. When he awoke, he was a different man. Before the stroke, he was a calm, disciplined chiropractor, a happily married husband and father of a newborn son. Now he was transformed into a volatile and wildly exuberant obsessive, seized by a manic desire to create art, devoting virtually all his waking hours to furiously drawing, painting, and writing poems and letters to himself, strangely detached from his wife and child, and unable to return to his normal working life. His sense of self had been shattered, his intellect intact but his way of being drastically altered. His art became a relentless quest for the right words and pictures to unlock the secrets of how to live this strange new life. And what was even stranger was that he remembered his former self.

In a beautifully crafted narrative, award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Ellis Nutt interweaves Sarkin’s remarkable story with a fascinating tour of the history of and latest findings in neuroscience and evolution that illuminate how the brain produces, from its web of billions of neurons and chaos of liquid electrical pulses, the richness of human experience that makes us who we are. Nutt brings vividly to life pivotal moments of discovery in neuroscience, from the shocking “rebirth” of a young girl hanged in 1650 to the first autopsy of an autistic savant’s brain, and the extraordinary true stories of people whose personalities and cognitive abilities were dramatically altered by brain trauma, often in shocking ways.

Probing recent revelations about the workings of creativity in the brain and the role of art in the evolution of human intelligence, she reveals how Jon Sarkin’s obsessive need to create mirrors the earliest function of art in the brain. Introducing major findings about how our sense of self transcends the bounds of our own bodies, she explores how it is that the brain generates an individual “self” and how, if damage to our brains can so alter who we are, we can nonetheless be said to have a soul.

For Jon Sarkin, with his personality and sense of self permanently altered, making art became his bridge back to life, a means of reassembling from the shards of his former self a new man who could rejoin his family and fashion a viable life. He is now an acclaimed artist who exhibits at some of the country’s most prestigious venues, as well as a devoted husband to his wife, Kim, and father to their three children. At once wrenching and inspiring, this is a story of the remarkable human capacity to overcome the most daunting obstacles and of the extraordinary workings of the human mind.


Media Reviews “Starred Review. The fascinating story of how a chiropractor, after suffering a massive brain injury, became an acclaimed artist with an entirely new outlook on life…A mind-bending and inspiring book.” – Kirkus Reviews

see the original article on Book Browse