Art Imitates Life in Bob Jackson's Kennett Square Studio

A typical still-life artist he's not. Still, Jackson's making a name for himself in the Main Line art scene, one balloon animal at a time.



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Prop Artist: Bob Jackson and his signature soda crates. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)It would be easy to have some preconceived notions about Robert “Bob” C. Jackson, considering his recent successes. One might expect that any artist who’s had solo shows in major galleries in New York and Boston, museum acquisitions of his work, and scholarly appraisals of his relatively short career might’ve outgrown a studio the size of a one-car garage.

Located in the heart of Kennett Square, a short commute from his home where he lives with his wife and three kids, the place is easy to miss. Here, he works entirely from the still life, creating increasingly larger Pop Art paintings. Sometimes, Jackson can be seen through the frosted glass of the studio’s single window.

The 47-year-old painter works intently and meticulously in oil—one canvas or panel at a time. His still-life “props” are hardly typical. They range from bits of Americana Andy Warhol might’ve coveted (vintage soda crates, cocktail swords) to items Jackson builds himself—like balsawood airplanes, twisted “dog” balloons, and plywood tables used as platforms.

Apples typically serve as stand-ins for the human figure. They’re placed, as one critic observed, in playful arrangements that “remind viewers of the days of Norman Rockwell, coming-of-age stories, and rites-of-passage adventures.”
 

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