The Artwork of John Lennon

Image: Lennon
Copyright © Yoko Ono

STONE HARBOR – Ocean Galleries is honored to present an exhibition of the extraordinary works of John Lennon. An unparalleled collection, “The Art of John Lennon” will be on exhibit and available for acquisition from Thursday, June 18 through Monday, June 22, 2015, with Ocean Galleries open daily from 10:00 AM through 10:00 PM.

Special receptions with the Collection Curator, Michele Rosen, will take place from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM on Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20, and from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM on Sunday, June 21. Ms. Rosen, an authority on the artwork of John Lennon, will be in the gallery and available to the public; speaking on the exhibited works and providing insight into the history and stories behind the artwork.

All events are complimentary and open to the public. Ms. Yoko Ono Lennon, who created the program, had the specific intent of helping local non-profit organizations in each city the exhibit visits. As such, Ocean Galleries will be asking guests to make a $5 or more donation to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

In his art, John Lennon, the legendary musician, songwriter, poet, philosopher, and artist, delivered a consistent message – peace and love. Art was actually his first love, as he began drawing long before he owned a guitar.

John Lennon’s artwork celebrates human love and communication – two themes at the heart of his contribution to the art of the twentieth century. His iconic Self-Portrait image has become the cornerstone of the collection. These posthumous, limited edition prints are adapted from Lennon’s original drawings. The art has been selected from rare archival sketches and is representative of his whimsical and thought provoking imagery. Each print is reproduced utilizing the sophisticated and detailed standards typical for archival fine art printing processes, guided, approved, and hand-signed by Yoko Ono.

In many ways, John Lennon was truly a renaissance man whose insights and perspective helped shape the sensibility of the contemporary mind. Born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England, he died tragically on December 8, 1980. He married Yoko Ono at Gibraltar on March 20, 1969. On March 29, 1969, John and Yoko commenced their famous bed-in for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton.

While music will be remembered as his most popular art form, he loved both literature and his visual art, studying at Liverpool Art Institute from 1957-1960. He penned and illustrated three books: In His Own White, A Spaniard in the Works, and Skywriting by Word of Mouth.

As early as 1969, John began moving toward a return to visual art. He was primarily interested in drawing and favored the creative loose sketch, working in pen and ink. In 1969, as a wedding gift for Yoko, John drew the Bag One Portfolio, a chronicle of their wedding ceremony, honeymoon, and their plea for world peace, the Bed-in. The suite also contained erotic sketches. The Bag One Series was first published and exhibited in January 1970 at the London Art Gallery. On the second day, the exhibition was closed by Scotland Yard and the erotic lithographs confiscated.

During 1986, Yoko Ono decided to share John’s artistic genius with the public by publishing the first in a series of prints entitled This is My Story Both Humble and True, followed with Bag One Continued…, Dakota Days, Karuizawa Series, and Japan Through John Lennon’s Eyes. These works are a commentary on John’s everyday life, his wife, Yoko, and their son, Sean. The drawings are whimsical yet poetic, loving portraits of their years together. Drawn by one of the most important cultural figures of our time, these illustrations celebrate human love and communication – two themes at the heart of John Lennon’s contribution to the art of the twentieth century.

Born and raised in Liverpool, England, as a teenager John Lennon became involved in music, forming his first band, the Quarrymen, which by 1960 had evolved into The Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. Lennon was a visual artist before he picked up his first guitar or wrote his first song. He attended the prestigious Liverpool Art Institute (1957-1960). He continued to draw throughout his life. Lennon’s primary medium was line drawing, in either pen, pencil, or Japanese sumi ink. He not only penned, but also sketched the drawings that became illustrations for three bestselling books: In His Own Write (1964), A Spaniard in the Works (1965) and Skywriting By Word of Mouth (1987).

In the years that followed, Lennon expressed himself once again through drawing, this time reflecting his love for his family. Since 1989, Bag One Arts has published a series of limited edition prints of his work, which have traveled throughout the world. The graphic collection has traveled throughout the U.S., England, Spain, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Manila.

“The Art of John Lennon” will be at Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ) on exhibit and available for acquisition Thursday, June 18 through Monday, June 22, 2015 from 10:00 AM through 10:00 PM daily.

Special receptions with Michele Rosen, the Collection Curator and authority on the artwork, will take place from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM on Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20, and from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM on Sunday, June 21.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. A donation of $5 per person is suggested, which will be given to the Southern Branch of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, serving Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties. The Community FoodBank’s mission is to fight hunger and poverty in New Jersey by assisting those in need and seeking long-term solutions. They seek to engage, educate, and empower all sectors of society in the battle, and fill the emptiness caused by hunger with FOOD, HELP, and HOPE. For more information, visit