RIP: Jeffrey Catherine Jones

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facebook.com 2011 5 19 94225 RIP: Jeffrey Catherine Jones
Jeffrey Catherine Jones, the fantasy artist who helped introduce fine art and illustration influences to comics in the ’70s and beyond, has died of complications from emphysema and bronchitis, according to numerous reports. She was 67.

In the early 70s, then known just as Jeffrey, Jones helped form The Studio, a group of cartoonists/illustrators that included Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson and Barry Windsor-Smith. Jones was known for her lyrical linework and ethereal paintings, which prompted Frazetta himself to say that Jones was “the world’s greatest living painter.” Although she produced the comics strip Idyll for National Lampoon in the ’70s, Jones was best known for her book covers, prints, and painting, with only a brief dabbling in comics.

In recent years, she had experienced many ups and downs, including a period of extreme financial need that friends had rallied to get her through. Her health had declined due to several long-term issues, however, and in recent weeks has been moved to a hospice. Friends on Facebook report that she died surrounded by family, and with her art posed on easels around her room.

Jones was prolific on Facebook, posting a constant stream of sketches, including the one above, posted just 9 days ago, all showing her mastery of line and form.


Filmmaker Maria Cabardo has been working on a documentary about Jones called BETTER THINGS, ample proof that Jones led a rich, fascinating life filled with astounding art.

201105190959 RIP: Jeffrey Catherine Jones
More of Jones’ art can be seen here.
201105191005 RIP: Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Comments

  1. jacob lyon goddard says:

    wow. i had no idea Jones was sick. seemed poised for a huge comeback with all the new fans from facebook.

  2. Rest well, Jeffrey. You’ve earned it.

  3. William Gatevackes says:

    Classy obit, Heidi. Sad day.

  4. My fave from the Studio group.

    Will be sadly missed.

  5. I’m floored by this. RIP.

  6. this is a shock. She was a great talent. Condolences to family and friends.

  7. Doug Murray says:

    It’s kind of a shock. I’ve known Jeffrey since he first moved to New York–and have always loved his art. She will be missed, both as a person and an artist.

  8. Genius. So sad.

  9. Thanks for beeing there with your fellow artists in the late 70ies & inspriring me
    as a young artist drawing girls!

  10. Sad news to wake up to, Jeffrey Catherine Jones was one of my favorite artists. I hope the documentary is still happening.

  11. Randy Mohr says:

    Judging from her Facebook postings I had no idea she was sick. I looked forward every day to see what she would share. Sad, sad day! Such a loss for which there is no replacement…

  12. I’ve been a fan since the mid 70’s and I feel like I lost a family member. She will be remembered.

  13. Nick Purpura says:

    I remember when I first got my hands on The Studio book after YEARS of looking for it. It introduced me to the greatness that is Jeffery/Catherine Jones. A true talent.

  14. Matthew Southworth says:

    I didn’t know Jeffrey Catherine Jones–don’t know if in person she preferred to be called “Catherine” or “Jeffrey” or what–but I hope she was able to feel love, admiration and appreciation so many people had for her work.

    It’s sad to hear that after so many turbulent times the past few years that she died so relatively young and wasn’t able to experience a true resurgence in popularity and find real financial stability.

    But there’s a silver lining here: her stature among comics fans helped soften the high-school condescension and bias against someone who was transgender. I hope that her beautiful artwork combined with her example might result in a legacy of tolerance and respect. I think it has already begun.

    But I’m very sad to see her go, and I would have liked to have met her.

  15. Scott Rowland says:

    I wish I had known she was on Facebook, so I could have thanked her for sharing her art. A wonderful talent, gone too soon. My condolences to her family and loved ones.

  16. I was honored and privileged to know C/J. I published IDYL in National Lampoon during the early 70’s..we remained friends for years…I never knew a gentler, generous artist…and a brilliant one to say the least..RIP my friend.

  17. James A. Owen says:

    @Matthew – her personal preference was to be called CJ.

    She was a great, great talent, and a very gentle soul.

  18. Hearing this sad news leaves me feeling gut-punched, especially with knowing she’d spent so much of her life in inner turmoil — thumbing through my copy of The Studio and blinking back tears,…

  19. Al™ says:

    So sorry to hear of Jeffrey’s death. So talented. So long Jeff.

  20. David Scroggy says:

    RIP to JCJ.

  21. Zak Smith says:

    big influence, sorry to hear it.

  22. Jonni Levas says:

    May you rest peacefully, my old friend.

  23. RIP to JCJ indeed. What an amazing talent.

    Lance Roger Axt
    The AudioComics Company

  24. Jeff Jatras says:

    Rest in peace, Jeff.

  25. Great artist. Used to love telling her how great she was on Facebook.

  26. Gina9223 says:

    I only knew her for a short while. I’ve loved her artwork since forever. :'(

  27. I just learned of her death tonight (Thursday) and was stunned. Most people didn’t realize how prolific she was, not how many artists regarded her as a master of her craft.
    I had a brief correspondence with her as part of a project on GLBT people in comics. I’ve posted a few thoughts on my blog:
    http://trosper-ignatz-gentlegiant.blogspot.com/2011/05/memory-and-reflection-jeffrey-catherine.html
    Finally, thank you for respecting her pronoun choice. Many well-intentioned folks online are using “him/her”, which is not the way she wanted to be seen.

  28. I first learned about Catherine through another friend on Facebook, who had mentioned she was in the hospital, and for everyone to wish her well. I had no idea who she was, and when I slowly learned, I felt foolish having never heard of her before. I wished her well, and she responded back with a simple “Thank You.”

    Afterwards, I became one of her Facebook friends…and feel eternally grateful to have been accepted by her. Every day, another fantastic example of her creation was there to brighten the day. I was beyond blown away with the aesthetic wealth, diversity, and prolific level of work she had created, and was sharing. It was like receiving a free gift every day, and I was grateful to her for it, and told her that.

    Her reply was a simple…”Thank You. :) ”

    I shared some links with her, and she seemed, in her own succinct way, very happy to receive them. Stuff about unusual science, the Large Hadron Collider, anything unique to make us look a little differently at the universe.

    She wished me a Happy Birthday two weeks ago, not long before she lapsed into a coma. I was deeply touched, but waited too long to thank her for doing so…but it was too late. I feel terrible that I failed to thank her in time, or even to say goodbye. I wished I could have met her in person as well as all of us here.

    I knew she had some health issues, but had no idea of the severity. Her passing, for me, is just too sudden, and heartbreaking.

    BTW, Ralph, the documentary is almost finished; it’s VERY much going on. The director, Maria Cabardo, is close to completing a rough cut, and still needs a few completion funds to finish. Please inquire about contributing to make it happen at these two links:

    http://macabfilms.wordpress.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Better-Things-Documentary/187914217120/

    I was looking forward the possibility that in the near-future, the documentary about her life and work would be screened in public, and she would finally receive more and more acclaim and recognition not just for what she has created, but for who she is.

    I going to miss her deeply. I already do. :-(

  29. I have a vague teenage memory of meeting Jeffrey Catherine Jones at a Bernie Wrightson show in NYC in ’77

    http://www.digitalartform.com/archives/2009/04/bernie_berni_wr.html

    She was a Big influence on me.

  30. I had the Dragons Dream book “The Studio” and had my copy out to look through again last night when I first heard the news of Catherine’s passing. Tonight I’ll look through my Idyll collection to and reflect on the fact we’ve been robbed of a great talent far to early. I’m at an age now where every year the great cartoonists I grew up reading seem to be heading off to the great bullpen in the sky at an alarming rate. Jones won’t be in that bullpen though, she’ll have a studio nearby and drop in from time to time. I can accept losing Golden and Silver Age artists but guys from comics bronze age, that’s too much of a reminder of my own mortality.

  31. Doug Culbert says:

    I met Jeffrey as a 13 year old at the 73 NY Comicon. I was in awe of her talent and remember how the artistry of a short Flash Gordon story for Charlton completely obliterated the genre nature of the comic. She turned paperback book covers into high art. Many times I bought mediocre books for her covers alone.

  32. richard robert pollak says:

    I first saw his work on FLASH GORDON for Charlton Comics long ago. Then book covers, beautiful illustrations and strips for magazines through the ’70’s and beyond. Enjoyed his art ever since! Met him with Al Williamson a few years back at a NYC convention. I feel sad at the loss of another great talent! RIP

  33. RIP to a great, unique American blend of Klimt’s psychological iconography with the illustrative colors and finesse of a Nielsen and Dulac.

    Ah, all those dark-haired women, colors and detailed linework…

  34. Keisaku says:

    At the age of thirteen, I’m looking at what I didn’t realize was some of the most stylized and nuanced line art I would ever see. And I reach for a dictionary to look up “Aristotelian”. Parasamgate.

  35. i cant believe he is really gone :(

  36. S. Pinkston says:

    Funny how things stay in the recesses of our memory. There was a time when I bought every issue of the National Lampoon, and I especially treasured the comics — particularly Idyl. My favorite strip showed The Girl walking through a desert. She sees two barrels. “Barrels,” she says, “I wonder what’s in them.” She takes the lid off of one barrel and looks inside. “This one’s empty,” she says. Then she walks on, leaving the second barrel unopened.

  37. I am still shocked since 5-19-20011! One of my all me greatest artists. I wanted to meet Jeff soo bad and visit him in her studio. I will and always will love this beautiful human being that GOD created with his own brush,..then passed the talent onto Jeff. RIP Jeff,…I and many others will love you and your FANTASTIC work for many more years to come! Love you foreever Jeff and God Bless!

  38. I just today heard the sad news about CJ. I’m proud to say that I was a friend of Jeff Jones, back in the 70’s, when he was a kind inspiration and a patient instructor of a young, aspiring artist.

    After a very brief debut as a Frazetta clone, painting paperback covers, he rapidly veered off into the beautiful, delicate, etherial and altogether unique style that became the hallmark of his work. He was a prodigious talent.

    “First Fridays” was held at his apartment on West 72 Street in NYC, every month, often attended variously by Mike Kaluta, Berni Wrightson (his partners in The Studio), Roy G. Krenkel, Frank Brunner, Vaughn Bode, Howard Chaykin, Denny O’Neill, Roy Thomas, Al Williamson, Neal Adams, Barry Windsor-Smith, Allan Asherman, occasionally Frank Frazetta and a host of other luminaries of the New York comics and artists scene. I was thrilled to be included in this company and made to feel welcome.

    He was unfailingly kind and gentle and helpful, with a great sense of humor.

    I went off to Medical School, Residency, Fellowship and finally, private practice and lost track of all my artist friends, during the many years of training and a surgical career, only learning later of her gender reassignment.

    I remember her very fondly, as a gracious and and giving spirit of enormous talent and skill, who was so very kind to me, so long ago. I still have a small, signed, plaster statue of a beautiful woman, fashioned by the artist that I will cherish as a memento of my dear friend. Rest in peace CJ. You will be missed.

  39. Alan Williams says:

    Jeff Jones fanzine work of the 1970’s was truly astonishing. Jones numerous cover paintings for science fiction and fantasy paperbacks are still considered the finest work of the genre to this day. His comic art legacy was brief, but outshone most of his contemporaries. I never met the artist, but through the paintings, sketches and graphic art collections, I feel I know Jones. Rest in peace.

  40. Vince Argondezzi says:

    Damn. Another one of the greats gone.

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  42. Don Bishop says:

    RIP One great artist, I’ve always grabbed the paperbacks with his covers when I see them, she will be remembered.

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