Jeffrey Catherine Jones (January 10, 1944 – May 19, 2011) was an American artist whose work is best known from the late 1960s through 2000s. She provided over 150 covers for many different types of books through 1976, as well as venturing into fine art during and after this time. World renowned illustration artist Frank Frazetta once called Jeffrey Jones "the greatest living painter".
Early life and career
Jones was born in Atlanta, Georgia. By the time she was 5 years old, she knew she identified as female, and later that she was attracted to women as well. However, given the social environment of the 1950s American South, she repressed her identity. She was "a geeky kid", excelling in science and making rocket fuel in a lab in her basement, and was a member of the chess and Latin clubs.
She began creating comics in 1964, publishing her first professional work in Witzend magazine in 1966. Also in 1964, while attending Georgia State College, Jones met fellow student Mary Louise Alexander. The two began dating and were married in 1966. Their daughter Julianna was born the following year. After graduation, the couple moved to New York City but split up in the early 1970s.
Jones painted covers for books, including the Ace paperback editions of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and Andre Norton's Postmarked the Stars, The Zero Stone, Uncharted Stars and many others. For a period during the early 1970s she also contributed illustrations to Ted White's Fantastic.
In the early 1970s when National Lampoon began publication, Jones had a strip in it for a while called Idyl. (A strip by Jones, taken from Idyl, was used to illustrate the Sonic Arts Network CD publication Otherness, curated by David Cotner in 2007.) From 1975 to 1979 she shared workspace in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, with Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Michael William Kaluta, collectively named The Studio; Dragon’s Dream produced a volume of their work in 1979. By the early 1980s she had a recurring strip in Heavy Metal titled I'm Age. Cartoonists Walter Simonson and J. D. King said at the time that Jones had a growing interest in expressionism, and did not pursue comic work as closely thereafter.
In the late 1990s, Jones confronted some personal problems and, after considerable medical tests and consultations, started taking female hormones and had sex reassignment surgery. In 2001, she experienced a nervous breakdown and lost her home and workspace. In 2004 she got her own apartment in the Catskills and started producing work again.
As quoted from her personal Facebook page: "Legendary fantasy artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones passed away today, Thursday May 19, 2011 at 4:00 am surrounded by family. Jeffrey suffered from severe emphysema and bronchitis as well as hardening of the arteries around the heart. Jeffrey's dear friend Robert Wiener reported that there was a no resuscitation order as Jeffrey was weak from being severely under weight and had no reserves with which to fight." She spent her last days cared for by her daughter.
Awards and Recognition
She won the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist in 1986.
Jones is the subject of an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Maria Cabardo.
- Interview with Jones on her tentative return to the industry
- Phegley, Kiel. "R.I.P. Fantasy & Comics Artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones," Comic Book Resources (May 19, 2011).
- Homepage of Official Site (via archive.org)
- "Autobiography" Official Site (via archive.org)
- Cooke, Jon B. "Weezie Jones Simonson - Louise discusses her life & times as a Warren editor" Comic Book Artist #4 (Spring 1999 TwoMorrows Publishing p. 92-94
- Sequential Tart July 2004
- Jeffrey Catherine Jones profile, Facebook. Accessed May 19, 2011.
View Jeffrey Catherine Jones's memorial at Find-A-Grave.