We had the good fortune of connecting with Rod Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rod, how do you think about risk?
Many years ago I left a very secure job as a fireman to become a commercial photographer. I had no formal training. I saved up my money and purchased a Hasselblad camera. From there I literally took thousands of pictures and within a year I had a studio and a couple of accounts. Within two years I had a very well equipped larger studio (8,000 sq feet) and was photographing everything from food to fashion. It was a huge risk, but it paid off. Eventually after many years of living as a commercial photographer my wife and I had a child. We were living in my studio in Beverly Hills at the time. The photography business was starting to really change…and not for the better. So we left Los Angeles and moved to the mountains to raise our daughter. And of course, I needed to make a living. I became a marketing consultant, and that was a successful business for many years. During that time I started to paint. I missed the creativity of being a photographer, but I didn’t want to be a photographer any more. Fast forward to today…I’ve been painting for about 20 years, and have a large following. But I’ve now decided to start a new venture. I’m no longer officially a consultant. My wife and I have been developing a podcast over the last few months, which we are going to officially launch in January of 2021. Again, it’s risky, but as I tell all my friends and family, “If you never try, you will never know. And in some cases what you don’t know can stave off the negativity that we use to sabotage our successes.” We all take risks, it’s even a risk to get out of bed in morning…but the rewards can be way beyond your expectations. I have known people that I would never recommend to take big risks. You really have to have a lot of self confidence and truly believe in what you are doing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I started painting I decided that I did not want to imitate other artists. I have an extensive art library in my home. A good portion of those books are about the various lives of artists, which gave me insights on the good, the bad and the anxieties of being a painter. It did not take me but a few months to develop my style, which I call Receptive Abstract Patternism. A name that my daughter actually came up with as she saw more and more of my paintings evolve. The biggest lesson that I have learned along the way is…there are going to be days when you simply are not, or you don’t think creatively. But thankfully those pass. Maybe it’s just a question of taking your vitamins and eating healthy. No creative person can escape the inevitable doldrums. But I can assure you they do pass. You have to believe in yourself and it helps to have good friends that encourage you and believe in you. I have to give credit to the time I spent as a marketing consultant, as well as a digital strategist. Not only did that provide an income but it also honed my ability to communicate my creative ideas to others. It also has been beneficial in improving my skills as a writer. And now as a soon-to-be podcaster. With a history of photography, painting and writing I have information that I am happy to share with others. I’m hoping the podcast will allow both my wife and I to share with others what we’ve learned along our creative journeys.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The best times I’ve ever had and the best times I’ve shared with friends is heading out into the deserts of the Southwest in a jeep. Camping in the rough, sleeping under the canopy of the universe and attaching a piece of meat on the end of a stick and cooking it over an open fire. And I have to admit on more than one occasion, that delectable meal was accompanied by a very good bottle of champagne that we all drank out of Dixie cups. We live in the San Bernardino mountains and I grew up in the town of Crestline. I graduated from the high school up here and then went into the Navy. I have many fond memories of mountain living and am always happy to take friends and relatives on the grand tour. And often I foot through the forest. On a week long trip it most likely be Shiprock, New Mexico. Where there is nothing but nothing and you can see forever in all directions. On a clear day, I even believe you can see the curvature of the earth. Is it the most glamorous place…not really. But there seems to be spirits to convene with your soul. You know, like the ones everyone hopes to find in Sedona, AZ or maybe even closer to home, Joshua Tree. Regarding the food…you’re mostly looking at Indian Fry bread and if you’re really lucky, like we have been, you’ll run into a couple of grandparent Navajo Indians that have just baked some goat’s milk bread that they cooked in a Pueblo oven. Which on more than one occasion they were selling from the back of their pickup truck on a remote dirt road in the desert. Delicious! This bread and also fry bread are best served with a chilled bottle of Sangria.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been many mentors that seemed to show up at exactly the right time. I feel extremely blessed. Many of these mentors played a significant role when I decided to quit being a fireman. Which was walking away from a secure job and a great retirement. Kirk Kierkeng was an antique dealer and he taught me how to be not so bashful and to articulate my thoughts. Fredrick Arnold taught me the power of thinking for myself and develop opinions that were based on facts not here say. Jim Campbell Commercial Photography hired me to work in his darkroom. I learned to become an excellent black and white printer. Paul Eastman taught me the philosophies of creativity and exposed me to many of the great thinkers and the great artists of the world. My wife Inci Jones who had the courage to take huge risks, especially during all the times we did not know how we were going to pay our bills. Her trust and love magically kept everything together. And the good news is, she has now become a successful artist and author. My daughter Sierra who has always been very supportive and loving. She managed to keep my thinking young and contemporary. And also taught me valuable lessons when it came to promotion on social media and online.
Twitter: Rod Jones Artist
Other: Thought Row Podcast – https://thoughtrow.com/
All images were created by: Rod Jones Artist or Inci Jones Artist