Zeke

Jeffrey Rhodes

Zeke

Zeke's Art Collection

I’m from Colorado, born and raised. We lived where the foothills met the plains and my nearest neighbor was a mile away. I spent a lot of time on my own, wandering, making up stuff – entertaining myself. We had chickens and ducks and turkeys and cats and dogs. There were snakes and birds and cows and gophers and bugs galore.

I took a weekend oil painting class in fifth grade. It was brutal. I didn’t like being told what to do.

At school I was always in trouble. Instead of doing what was assigned, I would doodle, draw, sketch, mark-up and joke around. Parents and teachers said if I just applied myself, I could do so well. It wasn’t until high school that I was able to apply myself and get praise for my efforts. I was an illustrator for the school newspaper and yearbook and then Art Editor and Head Photographer. I did so well.

I left Colorado for the Army and served a four-year hitch, seeing a good few places and so forth.

Upon my return to civilian life, I went to college – first in at the University of Southern Colorado then at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – and graduated with a BFA in Film Studies.

It was during this time that I began painting. First it was in art classes – which I hated because the teachers wanted me to paint what they wanted and how they wanted. So, I started painting on my own – how I wanted and what I wanted. I was compelled to do it my way. It became a much-needed release for stress and frustrations. I have explained it as self-therapy, a way for me to process whatever nonsense I was going through – real or imagined.

Zeke with Choke the Chicken

My paintings are – to me – about that specific moment of realization, of confrontation, of recognition, of desolation, of elation, of desperation, or whatever is pumping through my brain at that moment.
As much goes into the titles, especially recently, as the artwork. Titles come and go for each image. Some stick throughout the process. Most change at least a little. Others go through drastic versions. At the end, though, my title is what the painting is to me. It’s ok if you don’t get it.

I have drawers full of drawings and sketches and ideas. There are pads and tablets and binders full of colorful notions and characters. I add as I go, and use as I need.

I’m a little off center. I often find things funny that are not – at least at first glance. In my day-to-day life, I mostly adhere to the norms and niceties of the careful everyday nonsense I was taught. Painting lets me strip that off like dirty coveralls and express myself purely and forcefully.

The people who have been digitizing my paintings the last year-plus have all commented that with each image they scan, they get to know me a little better. Weird.

Starting a painting is easy. Joyous. Electric. Orgasmic.
I have over 60 paintings started, leaning against the garage walls. I know what each of them IS. Finishing a painting is hard. Painful. Tedious. Boring.

I’m learning to embrace the boring, tedious and painful parts of the job. That’s fine. Whatever.

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