Preserving the artist's heritage

Robert Jackson

Interviewed in 2006
Sponsored by University of the Arts
Eugene Bolt, Intern
Rosalie Kenny, Videographer
Patty Smith, Advisor

Artist's Statement:
I was born in Baltimore MD in 1932 to creative parents. At the age of eight I became a transplanted native of Philadelphia. Educated in the Philadelphia school system, I graduated from high school with a scholarship to the Philadelphia Industrial School of Art, now the University of the Arts. I studied Advertising only to become an illustrator. Drafted into the Army, I learned life's greatest lesson: how to stand in ranks and become invisible. Upon an honorable discharge, I materialized once again in Philadelphia and took a job offer with Smith Kline and French Pharmaceuticals. They learned that I was a free spirit, laid-back, and easy-going.

An illustrator must be published or he is in the wrong business. I never took pride in the number of books, magazines, galleries, or exhibits that honored me. But I hold close to my heart friends' and peers' opinions of me.

Warren Blair, my boss at SKF, said my fingers dripped with talent, so I looked at them and saw ink stained fingertips. Eugene Jackson (no relation), owner and publisher of Spring House Corporation, while chairing a meeting for Nursing Magazine, said that the first thing we should clone is Bob Jackson. And my cloned head is still swollen. A broad grin crossed the face of my friend Alan Klawans when I delivered his assigned job. His dimpled cheeks were glowing when he said “Jackson, you make me look good.”? (So I thought of myself as a beautician. But one look at my Albert Einstein hair and everyone knows I am not a cosmetologist.) I think he meant that I gave him ammunition to sell the job.

My favorite compliment came at a very low point in my life. It will never be printed in its entirety; it has to be cleaned up. It can’t appear on a tombstone since my ashes will be spread around my favorite pub in Ireland. A friend walked into the studio, looked around at the numerous projects, and said, “People throw s... on Jackson, and before it hits the ground, he makes something of it.”?

And he was right, and I thank him. At the bottom of the Statue of Liberty it says, “...give me your tired, your poor, humble refugees...” I say, “Just give me your junk.”

Robert Jackson
322 Estaugh Avenue
Haddonfield NJ 08033