A love of drawing and painting kept me out of trouble as a young child growing up in New York. My mother’s interest in art helped to instill an appreciation through our weekend trips to museums. On Saturdays and Sundays, my mother would take me to The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Whitney Museum of American Art or to see a dance performance she thought I would like.
I would have to say I was expected to be an artist and I happily complied. The High School of Music and Art and an eventual scholarship to a commercial art school housed in the Flatiron Building gave me some basic training. But pursuing art in the school environment quickly lost its appeal. I gave up the scholarship to go to work designing labels and learning to letter with a number zero brush. I loved it, but stayed in the work-a-day world a short time. I got married and kept painting; had two children, kept painting and was selling my work.
One day in 1967, I discovered that I loved putting “things” together in a situation or environment better than I loved painting. My children’s toy chest, flea markets, junk shops, and hardware stores became my art suppliers. I used clay, wood, glass, plastic, paper, curios and objects. The mixing of media to achieve a visual story in three dimensional form was a challenge I relished. The materials were like puzzle pieces. I shaped and fitted them into my dreamscapes forming new worlds.
I began this adventure just before we left New York to live in Los Angeles. The paintings for my first solo exhibit (which was held in the gallery of the Herzl Institute on Park Avenue) were up on the walls. I took my oil paint box and turned it into a sculpture (technically, an assemblage I was later told). Current events, social issues, the circus, the Bible, history, war, and mythology along with my biographical notes resonated in the work.
A Los Angeles curator called the assemblages “My gardens of Bomarzo”. An art dealer perceived them as literature. Psychologists, I am told, were really interested in my mental health. By 1975, the work in assemblage evolved into books, which afforded me the opportunity for growing my work by layering images. The outgrowth of such books through assemblage permitted me to continue using mixed media
and supports other than paper when called for. Books and assemblage continue to be the forms of expression that best let me create art suited to my love of story telling in a suggestive way.
Statement courtesy of Sandra Jackman
Purchase Award, Fourth Biennial, Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA, USA (1974)