John Lennon art show benefits food bank

By From page A7 | May 10, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Imagine.

Art done by John Lennon in Walnut Creek. That, and a chance to help the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

It’s a reality.

Through Sunday, Yoko Ono and Legacy Productions will present “The Artwork of John Lennon,” showcasing drawings, sketches and song lyrics that make up the nearly 100 limited-edition lithographs and copper etchings available for purchase at the event.

In a telephone interview Friday afternoon, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, shared how the art shows come together, her thoughts on Lennon’s artwork and the importance of working with smaller charities.

Ono makes the first selection of artwork, looking for ones that have not been seen or may have been seen in a different area. Legacy Productions enters the picture and makes the final choices, she said.

“It works out,” Ono said.

Ono said she tends to favor smaller charities, so the food bank was a natural choice.

“We try to focus on what’s going on in that city and town (where the exhibit is going),” she said.

She’s concerned with people not having enough to eat as well as those who don’t eat healthy foods. Ono was impressed to hear the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano offered a mobile fresh produce program.

Having access to healthy food, such as fresh produce, is important, Ono said.

“The food bank is very important,” she said. “It’s so good to give to the food bank.”

Concentrating on smaller charities also builds momentum, Ono said.

“When we do good things, even small things, it affects the world,” she said.

Lennon didn’t pick up a guitar for five of the last seven years of his life. During that time, he channeled his philosophy through his drawings.

Ono said many people are surprised to learn her late husband was a gifted visual artist.

“Most people don’t know John’s artwork,” she said. “They know he was a great musician.”

Lennon wanted his work in a gallery. He was turned down by curators who didn’t believe a musician could also be a visual artist, Ono said.

“It was a very difficult uphill climb,” she said. “People are starting to understand. Now, if Keith Richards wants to do an art show, who’s going to stop it?”

Lennon worked on his art when, and where, the inspiration hit him, Ono said.

She hopes others will tap into their own artistic talent after seeing Lennon’s artwork, which she called “simple and beautiful.”

It’s also’s full of humor, with a nice light touch, Ono said.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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