Bankers Art Museum

Biography of Sky Jones

Sky Jones

A Biography of Siren Bliss

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He continued to paint for three years in Oklahoma then moved to a studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. He had been there one and a half years, when in 2005 a wealthy Dallas land developer, that wanted to retire and be an art dealer, flew in from Dallas to buy some paintings and commission the artist. He had already purchased a large collection of his paintings from other sources. He said he would provide a studio and secure storage for all of the art that the artist had created since the last theft. The problem turned out to be that the storage area ended up being in his home, the artist no longer had access to it and the collector would not answer his calls. He had been betrayed again.


In 1982 he had been robbed at gunpoint in his North Hollywood studio. They took his art and bound him and a studio assistant and made their getaway. When police arrived, the artist provided them with a drawing of one of the felons. They were both captured that night and spent many years in prison for their crimes.


Eight times in his life he had been robbed representing many years of work. He had seen people become criminally insane with greed for his art. What was the solution? He did not know but he was a generous old apple tree that dropped golden apples for everyone.

"Artist's Mother and Father"
1982 Prismacolor pencils on charcoal paper.

"Artist's Father"
1982 Prismacolor pencils on charcoal paper.



Born 1947, in the reconstruction period right after the war, Michael R. Whipple had making art and music in his blood from the beginning. He has produced over 18,000 individual paintings, etchings, original jewelry, ceramic and sculpted pieces. He has done at least 20,000 drawings of figures. Many of these were drawn in 2003 as small studies.

Artist at one year old.

Artist at five years old.

In 1953 he became highly interested in painting, drawing and sculpture. It was like he knew exactly what he would enjoy doing for his entire life. Sky has stated: "by the time I was five I was working in wood. I knew how to use a hammer, a chisel, screwdriver, a saber saw, an electric drill and a rasp. The great fun had started." "I got wood, clay, art and construction materials for most Christmases. I could feel the magnet drawing me into a lifetime of creating art.


He was in the Cub and Boy Scouts from 1955 to 1963. From 1955 to 1964 he took piano lessons.



In 1960-1 he started taking life-painting classes with his parents at the University of Utah Department of Adult Continuing Education. He sold his first sculpted piece: a large hand carved broadsword. It was the year of his first piano recital.


The artist, eldest of five brothers and four sisters


In 1965-66 he was the art editor and contributing artist to his High School literary magazine, "West Winds."


In 1971 he received an art degree from the University of Utah where in all he attended 22 quarters. He majored in sculpture, working in the studio of the prominent Italian sculptor, Angelo Caravaglia.


His second major was painting. He studied and excelled in portrait and figure painting under the well know English educator and portraitist, Alvin Gittins.


He studied modern painting with two famous Utah modernists: V. Douglas Snow and illusionist Anthony Smith.


In 1974-75, in Boston, he painted Governor Michael Dukakis and portraits of several Boston dignitaries.


He painted Boston Bruins hockey star Bobby Orr. He painted football players from the New York Jets, The New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers John Brody.


One well-known painting from 1975 is a 5' painting of O.J. Simpson. It was called "O.J. and the Bolt." It was distributed as a limited edition print. It shows O.J. getting smashed by a crippling bolt of lightning from Ron (the Bolt) Bolton of the New England Patriots.



Artist's son Sri Zeno Rema Whipple1975


From 1976 to 1983 Sky worked on about a dozen Hollywood movie posters including "Star Trek l," "Meteor," "The Never-Ending Story," "Dressed to Kill," "Walking the Line," "The Joint," Octagon," "Heart Breaker," and "Final Countdown."


During this time he also did magazine covers and illustrations for "TV Guide."


It has been estimated that his illustrations have appeared in over 80 percent of the magazines in the world. There have been many informative magazine interviews and newspaper articles in 40 years.


In 1981 he published "Images of Paradise," a large packaged collection of 50 signed prints, including the "Star Trek" work, with two full color books. This was a limited edition portfolio with a suggested retail of $100,000.00. The portfolios were marketed through the Beverly Hills Gallery on Rodeo Drive and quickly sold out. Visit the Michael R. Whipple Gallery at to see the "Images of Paradise."



In 1984 Fredrick Smith interviewed Michael R. Whipple in a 16- page layout in "Stepping Out Magazine." Smith had the distinction of being granted the last interview with Picasso prior to his death. It was syndicated by "Look" magazine. It was the last interview he had done prior to this one. Cover Title: "Venus Entering Through the Gates of Heaven."



Making a financial art statement, in 1984, he founded the Bankers Art Museum (BAM) as his studio to publish, certify and house his prodigious and valuable output.


That same year, Mohammed Ali asked Sky to paint a painting of children of different races on the back of Sky's beautiful white Arabian mare. It was for his "Children's Peace Journey" benefit. This large 9' x 5' painting was his backdrop for the national television coverage. Mohammed Ali never left his power position in front of it.


"Children's Peace Journey"
1985, 9'x5', acrylic, modeling paste and jewelry on wood.


Sky Jones is in the collections of:


In 1984, a Valentine's Day showing of his art at the ARCO Plaza in downtown Los Angeles drew record crowds. ARCO management reported that the audience was "largest ever" for the Plaza. Sky signed autographs for six straight hours. Eighteen thousand people saw the show of 12-5'x9' and 4-9'x13' paintings. Some waited in line for as long as two and one half hours.


On two separate occasions the late Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles presented Official Commendations to Sky Jones for his civic contributions: 1984, 1998.


His original works have been displayed coast to coast and in many countries including London, England, 1979, with two shows in Mexico City, 1976-77. His prints have been distributed worldwide. His work is in the collections of thousands of museums, charities, corporations and private collections.


Sky Jones has written 10 books including: "The Universal Language of Beauty" 1975, (20,000 copies) "Signatures" 1980, "Images of Paradise" 1981, (2000) "The Artist's Bible" 1984, "Spirits" 1986,"The Treasure" 1994, (this was the fourth edition with 10,000 hardbound books printed), "Trance," an autobiography 1996-97, "Fifty Year Retrospective," 1997, The Blessing and the Confirmation," 2003, "The Goddess,"2007.


Sky loves to write and sing his own songs. For a rich and expansive experience download his CD "Star Walker" 1997, or his other two CD's "Crazy" & "Raw" 1998, or examine his books at


1984 etching


For 40 years, the dozens of awards and commendations have continued to come to Sky Jones from Mayors, Senators and Governors nationwide to honor this unassuming and reclusive artist, "He has a persistence of principles and standards that have placed his art and genius as a beacon in the service of humanity."


Governor Edward D. DiPrete of Rhode Island honored the artist with Sky Jones Recognition Month in August 1989.


Governors Wallace G. Wilkinson 1989 and Governor BreretonJones 1992 of Kentucky; Both issued Formal Letters of Recognition acknowledging Sky Jones.


Mayor Jerry E. Abramson 1986-89 of Louisville, Kentuckey commended Sky with Sky Jones Month, August 1989.


Governor Kay A. Orr appointed Sky Jones as an Honorary Citizen of the Great State of Nebraska, 1989.

Governor Walter J. Hickle 1989, appointed Sky Jones as "Alaska's Ambassador of Good Will" for his warm hearted ways


The Governor of Louisiana, Edwin W. Edwards appointed Sky Jones as Honorary Citizen of the State of Louisiana, 1992.


Utah Governor, Norman H. Bangerter, commended Sky for his art statement using creative recycling to work with the homeless in Salt Lake and Provo in 1992


Many Senators including Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, have "stood and applauded" Sky's performance as having great significance.


Governor George S. Mickelson, from the state of South Dakota, once stated to Sky: "It is individuals such as you who see to it that our world remains environmentally and spiritually sound for future generations."


Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones stated: "Art has a tradition of fostering humanitarianism, but few artists have been so active in the practice of helping others than Sky Jones. His interests cross the spectrum of modern needs of our planet and it's people from recycling to aiding the homeless. Seldom has the beautiful and the blessed been so marvelously entwined. Thank You Sky Jones for reminding us so often and in so many ways that kindness to others and to Mother Earth will make the place more beautiful than an artist's dream."


Cathy and Governor Frank Keating 2002: "On behalf of the State of Oklahoma, Frank and I would like to extend our sincere appreciation and recognition to you for your outstanding artistic work and many charitable efforts. We have enjoyed your work "Angel of Peace" as well as your other fine works at the Governor's Mansion. You have done so much to enrich the arts in our state."


Robert W. Gross EdD Director of Fine Arts Academic Services in Oklahoma City Public Schools in 2002 stated in amazement: "We have a true world class artist here and nobody knows it" "They just do not have any idea."