Until her death this morning, Jeffrey Catherine Jones had a reputation as the greatest living transgender science fiction, fantasy, and comic book artist. She inspired an entire generation of emerging artists in comics and illustration by infusing fine art techniques into the commercial world of comics.
During her 67 years on Earth, she illustrated over 150 book covers, had a comic strip in the premiere issues of National Lampoon magazine as well as Heavy Metal magazine, did DC cover art for Batman and created countless other drawings, photographs, and paintings now viewable on her website. If you never got a chance to see her work during her lifetime, don’t fear! There’s an interview and a documentary so you can see the profound effect her work had.
A friend described her passing in the following note on her Facebook wall earlier today:
“Legendary fantasy artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones passed away today, Thursday May 19, 2011 at 4:00 am surrounded by family. Jeffrey suffered from severe emphysema and bronchitis as well as hardening of the arteries around the heart. Jeffrey’s dear friend Robert Wiener reported that there was a no resuscitation order as Jeffrey was weak from being severely under weight and had no reserves with which to fight.”
Doesn’t it suck when you discover awesome artists only after they’re gone?
Oh wow I gotta get a satellite phone! Ingenious spam told me to.
The lead on google said “The Greatest Transgender SciFi Artist”, if I may correct that , “The Greatest Living SciFi Artist” period. In comics she created a new form, she was unique, in painting she transcended every job. She was as good as any master in history and we her friends loved her.
I am, Henry Bookout, Jeff’s 1st cousin. He was born when I was 9 years old. (I asked Jeff if he wanted me to call him Jeff or Catherine, and out of 67 years habit he said to call him Jeff. He called marshmallows, “Mop-mops.” He called squirrels, “bunnies.” Jeff was a handsome man and a beautiful woman. Few of us can answer to both of these distinctions. I remember well the day that Jeff was born. It was in the middle of WW ll, rationing, blackouts, when everybody hunkered down for the “duration.” Every woman in the United States wanted “nylons,” which were generally unavailable. It was an awful time. Jeff’s father, my Uncle Cecil, was stationed in Germany at the time of his birth. My mother and Aunt Judy, with Jeff, were in the same room with Jeff on the day Uncle Cecil came home from the war. Cecil brought home with him an accordion. Jeff’s earliest years were as an unhappy kid (so was I–it seemed to run in the family), both because of his absent father, and because of the other (unnamed) person that lived inside of him. When I told Jeff that my Aunt Judy, his mother, told me many funny stories, Jeff said, “She didn’t tell me any funny stories.” Jeff was always the lean, lonely, artistic type, and his brother was an all American boy we called “Steamboat.” So Jeff’s conventionally unfavorable comparison of himself with other people began at a very young age. Jeff studied Geology at Emory University, but somewhere along the line turned to art. He arrived in the center of the art world, NYC, with his pregnant wife Weezie, in a VW beetle, in the midst of a fierce snowstorm–the kind that makes Broadway a single lane street. We lived near Columbia, and Jeff and family lived not far downtown. We visited Jeff and his wife during his several year stay. We smiled at, and held his daughter, when she was born. I asked Jeff many years later if he had any formal art training. He said, no, but that he had spent many hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during these first years in NYC figuring out how the great masters painted. I am sorry to say that my wife and I, when we moved to Long Island, lost touch with Jeff during the period of his greatest artistic achievements. We did get in touch again long after our NYC years when Jeff lived at Bear Mountain, near Woodstock. When we visited him at his studio in Bear Mountain Jeff showed me a set of little bronze dinosaurs that I had given him when we were kids. He had carried them around with him for all of those many years. I was in touch with him, mostly by phone, during his last years when he suffered most. I will always love Jeff. May she rest in peace. –Henry Bookout. May 20, 20II.
@Henry Bookout: Wow thanks Henry for the background.
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