Jared Ainscough: Rebuilding Jon Brooks

March 29, 2011

Most of the artists I’ve ever known or researched have a studio space that they set aside for work on all things art. If you were to visit most artists’ homes, you might not have any idea of the type of work that they did unless you were lucky enough to peek into their studio–but Jon Brooks is not like most artists.

Jon Brooks is a woodworker–but that really fails to describe what he does. He is part furniture maker, part painter and sculptor; all artist.

Photos courtesy of jonbrooks.org

If you delve a little deeper, that list grows to include architect and interior designer. What I find so intriguing and amazing about Brooks is that his work has spilled out of his studio and taken over his entire house. There is no separation between artwork and living space–the living space is the artwork. Every piece of his home–from furniture to garden to interiors to exteriors–is an extension of his creative vision. It’s as if he has never made a decision or had a thought that didn’t exemplify his artistic beliefs. Unlike anything I will ever see again, Brooks’s home is shocking and beautiful and astounding and whimsical. A life’s work that has been solidified.

I wish that were the end of the story, but there is much sadder side to Brooks’s home. Just over a year ago, a fire ravaged his studio and destroyed countless pieces, tools and a life-long collection of specialty woods. The finished and in-process works destroyed represented more than three years of labor.

The good news is that Brooks was able to recover from the losses quickly, and a huge community of followers, friends and supporters helped him rebuild his studio and get back to work. Donations of money and tools, along with help and support have allowed him to work his way back to the place he was before.

A selection of his new work is currently on display at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. Donations to the Jon Brooks New Studio Project can be made here.

Jared Ainscough
Some of the New England Home staff thought it would be fun to post as guests every now and then, outside of our regular schedule of design subjects. We’re pleased to have Assistant Art Director Jared Ainscough as this week’s in-house guest.