Jack, who continues to reinvent himself and his craft after a more than 40-year career, works in a meticulously kept studio in the home he designed for himself. The walls are lined with portraits he’s painted of friends and colleagues, and on a nearby table are a series of drawings of his dinners over the past week, a subject that hearkens back to one of his most well-known projects, which he’s taken a recent interest in.
Jack began his career as a fashion illustrator, contributing his artwork to department stores and magazines before photography became the editorial standard. In 1977, he founded gourmet food store Dean & Deluca with three friends. Jack devised the store’s minimalist and timeless design, which endures more than 35 years after the shop was established. After 33 years, Jack left the company and became an architect, designing and building homes on the East End of Long Island. Although he remained interested in art, it was not until a partner encouraged him to draw full-time 12 years ago that Jack jump-started his art career.
“You can go on to do many things with an art education,” Jack said when speaking about his diverse professional history. “An art background makes you an inventive problem solver. It can only make what you do better—whether that’s art or something entirely different.”
Students enjoyed the opportunity to ask Jack about his inspirations and artistic process. He shared that his work is often like a puzzle. “I don’t always know what’s going to happen, and I do not want to,” Jack said. “It is the process of putting the piece together that is so satisfying.”
One of Jack’s portraits usually takes about two hours, and he demonstrated his style of contour drawing by crafting a portrait of eleventh grade student Annie Sun as students looked on or sketched their own images of her.
The students then gathered around Jack to show him the work they’d done in their sketchbooks and to share with him their aspirations for college and beyond. Jack is expected to attend the Art @Ross Student Exhibition in January 2017.