Since first hearing the Beatles, and subsequently John Lennon’s solo work, not a day in my life has passed without thinking about him. The reminders of Lennon, his life and music, and the immense impact all of it had on the world, are everywhere, presently including Liss Gallery, in Yorkville, Toronto.
That’s exhibit Curator Lynne Clifford, who since the middle of the 1980’s has been in the trust and employment of Yoko Ono. Lynne passed along a few of my questions about John’s art.
Jeff: It was a genuine revelation, and a thrill, in the 80’s, to see the art of John Lennon you brought into the light for everyone to see. And through exhibits like the one at Liss Gallery on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto, into the light again – The Art of John Lennon. What makes this new exhibit special?
Yoko Ono: I found that the new generation of youth are very into art, and very cultured. I want them to see John’s Art. They would understand how Zen and meditative John’s work was. They are the ones who know well, that the modern science caught up in knowing about how important it is for Art to have sense of humour as well. Not ha ha kind, but subtle and gentle like John’s.
Jeff: Two themes beautifully woven into the art of John Lennon – Love and Communication. But what was the heart of John’s need to put pen to paper and draw?
Yoko Ono: I think he was a born artist. He had to always make art even up in the air on the plane, if he was inspired. And when you see what he did in two minutes, you see the strong and powerful communication he had created in those two minutes.
Jeff: When you’re traveling, and out of the blue, in some tucked away place, you see John’s art, in a shop, or someone’s home or somewhere unexpected, what’s the feeling you get?
Yoko Ono: I say “hi, John!” in my mind. Sometimes it chokes me up. But usually, I feel elated.
Jeff: One of the amazing things about John’s art is how it touches a person’s psyche. They look at John’s art and put themselves right into the picture and really connect with it. Tell us about how you see that connection and John’s intention.
Yoko Ono: John was not just an artist but a powerful communicator, too. He was born with it, and he did not have to make an effort to be this and that. He was.