MEDIA RELEASE - JUNE 2009
Medal of the Order of Australia
For service to the visual arts as a sculptor and educator
Artsource is thrilled to announce that Tony Jones, the West Australian artist has been honoured by receiving an Order of Australia in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Antony David Jones’ artwork inspires West Australians and tourists every day, yet few people know the man.
Tony‘s 1999 sculpture of C.Y. O’Connor mounted on his horse at C.Y. O’Connor Beach, North Coogee, was widely acclaimed in 2007 as ‘Perth’s Best Bit of Public Art’, by ABC Radio listeners. His recent 2007 work ‘Eliza’ in the Swan River at Crawley created to capture the physicality and joyousness of Western Australians has rapidly become the most photographed work of art in Perth and the subject of endless conversations. The migrant figure in front of E Shed Markets with suitcase under his arm being cautiously greeted by a dingo is almost as well known and loved. These are only a few of the forty or so works of art in the public realm, which show us who we are and tell West Australian’s stories with eloquence and elegance.
Artsource describes Tony’s approach to projects as “always encouraging in an infectiously pragmatic way, adding other opportunities where maximum advantage can be gained for as many people as possible whilst still consolidating a project's credibility.” Artsource, who represents the interests of close to 900 artist members and has been operating effectively for 22 years commented that this Honour was due, “When we think about the people who have made a significant difference to the quality of contemporary art, educational pathways for students and opportunities for the development of the visual landscape in this state, Tony Jones stands out tall. Tony conducts his life and work with vision, unimpeachable integrity and complete consistency”.
As well as his making public art, Jones who also gained the accolade of WA Citizen of the Year in 2008 for contribution to the Arts, has exhibited his work regularly for over 40 years in galleries; most recently small and large scale sculptures, prints and drawings at Gallery East. As a curator he has brought together regional and urban artists to present sculpture to diverse communities, created exhibitions to popular and critical acclaim at the highest levels of the Australian contemporary art circuit and seen his works purchased by private and public collections including those of all the major WA universities.
But it is as a teacher that he is best known to artists. His teaching career spans 43 years beginning in high schools, then 23 years at Claremont School of Art where he became Head of School, to the WA School of Art and Design at Central TAFE where he still teaches. The walls of his East Fremantle house are packed with his students’ works, which he has purchased as much to support and encourage them as to enjoy the products of their imagination.
Not happy to stop there, Tony’s contribution to our community extends into arts governance, policy development and initiatives through his numerous involvements on arts organisations’ boards, funding panels and setting up artists’ groups. Deeply interested in supporting emerging artists as well as upholding and extending high quality professional practices, Tony Jones has been the unswerving voice of reason, quietly and consistently making itself heard for over 40 years in WA.
Tony Jones is available for interview. T: 08 9339 1127
Bob Poolman, is available for comment on behalf of Artsource. T: 08 9384 8039
A SELECTION OF TESTIMONIALS FROM FORMER STUDENTS AND COLLEAGUES
There are legions of artists and operatives that have been boosted by this plain-clothes statesman. His advocacies, his time, energy and compassion on the multiple boards and committees (Art Gallery of WA, PICA, Praxis, Department for Culture and the Arts (WA), Australia Council, Sculptors' Association and of course Eastbloc) has been outstanding. He has always had his eye and his heart on the ball and I have found him one of the finest human beings I've been privileged to meet.
Tony Jones’ commitment to his students does not start and stop at the classroom door. He has generated and led more Public Art on-site teaching modules than I care to remember, engaging and integrating the burgeoning artists with the Arts Community. Tony is not only an exemplary instructor he also equips his students with the necessary tools to become artists in the “real world”. But he does not leave them there!
Perth is a very lucky city to have Tony Jones not only as a Sculptor but as an Ambassador of Art.
Tony is a worthy candidate for this prestigious award. He has nurtured many artists through TAFE and enthusiastically encouraged them to participate in exhibitions. Tony keeps in contact with his past students and maintains an informative database mail-out.
I was happy to find an instructor who was nurturing and passionate, and demanding yet able to encourage each student to follow their own aesthetic and conceptual path rather than dictating from his own preferences. His ability to organize and mobilize group projects, and the enormous amount of energy he puts into bringing groups of artists/students out to remote areas to install art works, one of the most memorable for me being the CueFest where we "staged" at least 20 individual sculptures.
Being a great communicator, Tony's work day doesn't end at 5pm. He tends to email regularly, always answering requests and forwarding information on jobs, commissions, openings to scores of people on his mailing list. He works tirelessly for the promotion of sculpture in WA, and encourages artists to enter submissions for public artworks, to bring appreciation of art to the wider community.
It seems that all Sculpture Lecturers that ever taught me at TAFE, were either taught by Tony Jones themselves, or worked along side him as colleagues.
His work will continue to stimulate and encourage discussion for many years to come.