Biography of Sky Jones
A Biography of Siren Bliss
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In Los Angeles, in 2000, he filed a police report on the theft of all of the museums paintings and assets with all of his personal possessions. It was a loaded semi. The thieves were a Glendale, California Seventh Day Adventist Pastor and his son wanting to be art dealers. In 2007, nine of the stolen unsigned Goddess paintings done in 1998-9 were discovered and returned to the artist. The men had forged signatures on them.
"Unsigned stolen paintings with forged signatures"
"Bride of Christ"
2006, 4'x6,' Acrylic on pressboard. Commissioned work.
In 2000, The Wall Street Journal's senior front-page editor John Emschwiller, (Co- Author of "24 Days" on ENRON), interviewed Sky Jones in two lengthy sessions several weeks apart. Sky made it known that he had not involved himself in the sale of his art since the early 1980's. "I spend a lot of time working on humanitarian oriented art programs."
In the Wall Street Journal interviews Sky Jones spoke about practicing economy in consumption and action leading to economy of thought and efficiency in life. He gave personal examples of living with no electricity, running water or money and even fasting to learn and master the great lessons of economy. This was not the story that the Wall Street Journal was looking for.
The Bankers Art Museum was an art form not a corporation or business venture. The artist's studio, and all of the artist's actions were clearly performance art statements. As an art statement and a communication to other artists Sky Jones had created, introduced, and used his art as a currency in the marketplace. This currency could be used to purchase stock, trust deeds, cars and virtually any form of commodity. It was a valuable working art form.
Sky Jones made it clear up front that this was a reality play and he was playing real parts. The four characters were examples to other artists of who they needed to be to accomplish that same art form. The four parts were artist, founder and two curators to maintain the museum. The artist was founder, administration, producer and product.
The Sky Jones performance is a similar art statement to the well-known artist that draws money to scale and then looks for people that will accept it as regular cash so that he can shop with it. Artistic commentary on money is a staple in art galleries.
Through the Bankers Art Museum, BAM, Sky Jones had established an entity that created a currency as an art form. In the early 1980's, the largest barter magazine in the world, "Barter News," did 3 cover stories on Michael R. Whipple. The artist's words and actions notified other artists that the stepping-stone between art and money was barter. After all, "the butcher in town had more Picassos than anyone else".
On September 4, 1997, in Fort Worth, Texas, art history was made. Sky Jones was called as the star witness in SEC V ITEX Corp.: CV99-1361BR (D.Ore.). In this public document, Walton S Kingsley, SEC attorney, notified the world that in one-of-a-kind original paintings Sky Jones was the most collected artist of all time by U.S. Corporations.
Kingsley stated that this was an anomaly and had never happened before with any other artist. This was a major first. When questioned whether this was a positive or negative anomaly he responded "neither." "It simply has never happened before."
Sky Jones unquestionably holds the world record for the last century. At the deposition, the SEC attorneys questioned Sky about 127 public corporations that were booking $275,000,000.00 worth of his art. He was astounded at the large amount of his art they had. He was shocked because here the government had produced 127 companies that he had never heard of and he had never received anything from them. When Sky compared his notes with the SEC's, another $350,000,000.00 in art was located. A flood had occurred. This added up to over $625,000,000.00. The corporations obviously loved his art form.
Only two corporations used the art on their books incorrectly and were fined. That was ITEX and CEC. The other 125 corporations apparently had more informed CPA's.
What Sky could not understand was when did he sign all of those paintings? This was an overwhelming amount of work. He should have remembered signing but he could not. Was the bulk of this art in corporations forged? He found the truth out 10 years later when a gallery showed him some paintings that a private collector had brought in to sell and he spotted the forgeries immediately. So he finally realized what had happened. In 1992 Sky had spent 6 months in Thailand painting and while he was there his trusted art dealer, from Provo, Utah had stolen thousands of unsigned paintings from him. He forged the artist's name on them and traded them to the corporations listed by the SEC for stock.
For the SEC, the primary item they wanted to establish was that the art had little or no value.
In the Depositions the artist kept repeating: "How could consigned paintings be worth anything to ITEX or CEC or any of these corporations if they have never paid me for them?" "Why are we here? The first step is to find if these people actually own the art. I have not been paid for what they have so they cannot have clear title under any circumstance. How much is that worth? Consigned art cannot go on their books. It still belongs to me. Let's draw up a bill of sale right now and we will see what they are willing to pay. This has not been done yet. It will tell us exactly what this collection they have is worth. They broke the law by putting art that they did not own on their books at inflated prices." (CEC had two paintings appraised for 3 million dollars on their books.) "The SEC did not hear a word that I said."
"They subpoenaed many of my collectors that had art that had been purchased for large sums. These collectors knew that the purchase of a Whipple or Sky Jones painting could trigger tax events that could be as high as several million dollars owed to the government. They told the SEC, in true fear of taxes, that they only had a few pieces and paid very little for what they had. Many collectors refused to come foreword because they knew that anything they said would be used against them. Several appraisers and galleries were also subpoenaed"
The SEC greatly devalued the CEC art collection but never once challenged ownership. "Why was I subpoenaed if they did not want to hear a word I said?" After that debacle CEC sold a few paintings from the stolen collection for more than the SEC had valued the whole collection at. It helped pay their fines and legal fees. Still the artist was never paid for any of the consigned art nor was it returned.
On March 3, 1995, Fort Worth's Milan Gallery hosted a nationally promoted $10,000,000.00 art exhibition of Sky Jones paintings offered by a local collector.
In the September, 1995 issue of Décor Magazine in an interview with Tal Milan, it was announced that $9,000,000.00 worth of Sky Jones art was sold in that show.
This was a first for Fort Worth. Buyers flew in from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Florida and actually most of the Western States. Many wealthy Texans were there. Over one half of the art was sold at the opening. A downtown Fort Worth building was one of the pieces of real estate that was traded for his art at this show. The artist was not in attendance but Sky Jones was established as the bar to beat in the D/FW art community.
The notorious Provo art dealer with a Texas collector (who had never paid for his collection) sponsored this highly successful show. Had the artist been paid for any of these consigned paintings or for the decorative platters sold at the show? No. Were there forged signatures at that show being sold as authentic?
Two months later in May 1995 the artist returned to his Salt Lake City warehouse studio from his Edmond, Oklahoma studio. Upon arrival he noticed that the door was wide open to his studio and the space has been fully stripped to the walls. The front door had actually been forced open and the alarm disabled. The police had responded but the burglars had bogus papers to make it look like they had a right to enter.
Someone had brought a semi-trailer and filled it with all of the artist's belongings and all of the artwork that he had been working on for ten years. It was over 10,000 paintings. The police were summoned. The neighbors had the license numbers and descriptions. The police arrested the artist's Provo art dealer. The semi trailer was stopped and turned around just before it arrived in Philadelphia and it was returned to Sky.
That crooked art dealer had a businessman that had offered him $3,000,000.00 plus promises for more if he could get and deliver the art from the studio immediately. It seems strange that he could not ask the artist for support with this.
The success of the Fort Worth show had turned more than a few people crazy with blind hunger. A settlement had to be executed between the artist and this criminal dealer. Attorneys were hired and there was a termination settlement. The artist did not get back anything from the art show or from the corporations and with the burglary there was no way to verify what was in the semi. As it turned out later there was another truck and it was also loaded at that time. Its contents were never disclosed nor returned. He withheld information about all of the stock transactions and what he did with all of the art he had taken. The dealer received 750 large wooden sculpted statues, 500 in 48" x 36" wooden crates and 250 in large cardboard cases. They were padded with tons of 1991 shredded travelers checks. It took 3 tightly packed 45' semi trailers to move the sculptures. The dealer now lives out of the country.
The construction of sculpted statues project was an insightful social commentary and timely art performance. In addition, it was an environmentally conscious recycling project. The following is what happened.
Sky Jones and Bill Clinton are the same age. At the same time Bill Clinton was campaigning for president, Sky noticed that there was an unusually long line of homeless people waiting to eat at the Salvation Army. Down the street Salt Lake Hardware, a huge 10 story old hardware store was being gutted of all of its shelves to make room for office spaces. All of the wood was going into dumpsters and to the landfill. Sky talked to the foreman and asked if he could have the wood if he pulled it out of the building. This would save the foreman thousands of dollars in dumpster fees plus a lot of money for labor. He agreed.
At that point Sky hired a crew of homeless men to strip all of the wood out of the building and recycle it to make sculptures and 500 large storage containers. They were all constructing beautiful 3 feet tall architectonic figures that Sky had designed. There were two loving figures secured on every platform and they were touching each other for loving support and expressiveness in ever changing ways.
The nice thing about all 750 sculpted pieces is they could easily be viewed as models for twin high-rise buildings with walkways and other forms connecting them. The 1500 figures were a profound contemporary architectural statement.
The social question asked and answered was: Rather than have people out of work and homeless why not recycle them into making something useful with recycled materials?
These actions did not go unnoticed. Utah Governor Bangarter forwarded the artist a Letter of Commendation for his excellent civic example. Senator Orrin Hatch also wrote to applaud this thoughtful artistic performance. The Salt Lake Tribune published a picture story with interviews with the homeless men. The full nature and significance of this art statement is covered thoroughly in the artist's "Fifty Year Retrospective" book. It was published in 1997. This document can be read online at bankerart.us
Shortly after the spectacular art show and the following art theft, the artist received a phone call from a wealthy Burleson, Texas man who had attended the art show and purchased several paintings and a large ceramics piece. He wanted to be an art dealer and invited the artist to come and bring the semi load of art and studio materials, still in the semi from the studio burglary, and he would provide a safe studio and plenty of money in Fort Worth.
Once the man had the art on his property he changed the locks on the storage and ordered the artist off of his property at gunpoint. The police said it was civil so attorneys handled it. They took 800 paintings. A year later the artist walked away with much less than half of what he had arrived with. It was after this was over that the artist was notified that the man was wearing a court ordered ankle bracelet because he had been convicted of felony theft a short time before they had met.
A few months later the artist's girlfriend of 15 years disappeared with the artist's share of this settlement. A police report was filed and she was located but after talking to her the detective was convinced that the artist was a liar and actually did not own any of his own paintings nor the semi that they were stored in that was registered to him.
At that point the artist went to Oklahoma City and painted for the next two years and in 1999-2000 the artist received an offer from a Los Angeles Pastor and his son. They wanted to be art dealers and would provide the artist with a studio and funding in Los Angeles. They paid to have his studio and belongings shipped out and put him in an airport hanger that was used to store insecticide. The artist got very ill from the poison and moved out of the studio putting all that he had created plus his studio in their care while he recovered in Oklahoma. When he returned two months later he found that he had been locked out and was consequently served a restraining order forbidding him from retrieving his art and belongings. He returned to Oklahoma City and continued to paint. People that he had trusted had hit him hard four times in five years.
The Burleson, Texas art dealer was busy selling the work he had stolen. To begin with, collections of Sky Jones paintings were placed in 20 Nevada corporations along with a selection of real estate and a few cows. The combined packages were then advertised and sold offshore to foreign investors.