Howard Jones, a St. Louis based artist, received a M.F.A. from Ohio University in 1983 after earning a B.A. at Kenyon College in 1976. Having taught at a number of universities, including Washington University in St. Louis, Jones went on to teach in and chair the Art Department of the John Burroughs School in Ladue, MO. In 2016 he received a Regional Arts Commission Artist’s Grant.
I guess you could call me a jack-of-all-trades. I like the word ‘trades.’ Trades are honest, hardworking vocations with a long and distinguished history of craftsmanship and service to others. And I have always loved tools. I started out as a printmaker in college. I’m glad I cut my teeth in such a process-oriented discipline, learning to ply a trade with specialized tools. And how to craft an image, line by line, shade by shade, color by color, layer by layer, out of seemingly nothing but positive and negative space. In short, I learned to draw. Next I turned to the much more difficult skill—honing and hewing an idea. Ideas do not come ready-made. They are skillfully crafted and if they are any good, transcend their own circle of meaning. Hence Duchamp’s delightfully playful ‘Ready-Mades,’ which Umberto Eco aptly defined as “a selective object of use (made) an object of contemplation (that) ironically connotes its former use.” So for the last few years I have been very interested in everyday objects and tools, trying to create unexpected new uses for them in keeping with, but enlarging upon, their original purpose. While I am surely not as witty as the Surrealists, I am as interested in non-sequitors that make one rethink something (or someone) they may have taken for granted. My figurative prints, paintings and drawings are perhaps formally about foreground and background between subject and object, and the role illusion plays in perception, but also about critical distance in human relations. - Artist Statement