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'The Artwork of John Lennon' comes to The Bravern
Most people know John Lennon, the musician. Fewer know Lennon the visual artist.
But Lennon's love affair with drawing and painting — particularly cartoonish pencil portraits of himself and his family — ran parallel to his music career and in fact superseded it late in life. For five of his last seven years on Earth, Lennon didn't pick up a guitar but he continued to draw.
Lennon studied at the Liverpool College of Art during the three years before The Beatles formed. He continued to draw and paint while working with The Beatles and in his post-Beatles career.
Lennon would create a piece of art whenever the mood struck him, wife Yoko Ono Lennon said.
"He didn't limit himself and he didn't say 'I want to do it in the morning,' or 'I want to do it at night,'" Ono said. "He was very different that way."
Beginning Friday, Oct. 31 and running through Nov. 2, a pop-up stop of The Artwork of John Lennon official exhibit will be hosted at The Shops at The Bravern. Suggested $3 donations and merchandise sales will benefit Hopelink, the foundation that serves homeless and low income persons on the Eastside and Shoreline.
Hopelink's mission to fight homelessness is one the late guitarist and activist would have supported, Ono said. She recalled an instance when they were walking near their home in New York and a homeless woman stuck her hand out for change. Ono had been put off by the encounter.
"But he said to me 'You have to remember there's not very much distance between us and that lady,'" she said. "He was always that way about things. He was a very successful man but he never forgot there were people that did not have that same kind of good fortune."
Lennon's artwork was never highly exhibited during his life, due to the public perception of Lennon as a musician only and a lack of enthusiasm for pencil art. One notable exhibit was in 1970, when he showed 14 lithographs from his "Bag One" portfolio, a wedding gift to Ono. Interest was revitalized after his death, Ono said, and Ono began releasing her late husband's work to the public in 1986.
The Artwork of John Lennon was organized by Ono and Legacy Fine Art & Productions to tour in cities for the benefit of nonprofits.