Paul Jones: I was born in Independence, Kansas in 1957. My early years in the fields of Western Kansas bonded me to the land and animals of the Midwest. Upon reflection, these childhood years in this rural landscape launched my artistic practice as an adult. At 17 years of age I joined the U.S. Marine Corps where I served 4 years. This experience led to a career in the trucking industry where I studied mechanics and became a driver. After a few decades in the truck driving industry, my imaginative spirit directed me in 2000 to attend formal art school and start shaping metal and wood. I began studying art at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and transferred to University of Colorado, Boulder in 2003. Two years later I began exploring the symbol of the Western Cowboy hat and fabricated my first steel hat sculpture. The value of the Cowboy hat lies with its numerous interpretations in American culture. This symbol for me represents those who work and are attached to the land. In 2013, my “Gambler” hat sculpture was selected through the Colorado Artists Guild to be exhibited in an Art Loan program in Senator Bennet’s Washington DC office. I have shown my work at Fine Art Festivals and shows throughout Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Wyoming, as well as at national Western cultural events in Oklahoma and Nevada. Currently I collaborate with my daughter Elena to design and create a natural series of sculpture. In this series we utilize copper to emulate and celebrate the life forms in North America.
Elena Jones: As the daughter of an artist, I was surrounded by art from the start. My father was always creating custom pieces for our home and displaying his art throughout. I idolized him and thought of him as a creative genius. My mother’s environmental work has equally shaped my artistic career. Her social activism and environmental politics taught me to prioritize the whole of humanity over the individual. I never thought of myself as an artist until later in my teenage years. Film photography was my introduction to formal art training in high school, but I didn’t take a drawing class until college. At CU Denver I majored in Art History and took the obligatory studio classes. I was working at a handmade jewelry store at the time which was a small introduction into sculpture. Once I took a sculpture course I was completely hooked. Although I work with two-dimensional mediums in my free time, I immediately knew that sculpture was the most challenging medium, and therefore it was for me. My dad has always welcomed my presence in the studio, and I have helped him on and off in various projects for years. After I knew I wanted to pursue sculpture professionally, joining him in the studio was the obvious choice. Our relationship has only strengthened from our artistic partnership, and we thank each other every day for what we have built. We fully rely on each other and it feels like a perfect fit.