Leading up to the 50th celebration next August, we will be featuring various alumni and professors of the Cortona alumni family. This week we would like to introduce you to Rob Jackson!
Name: Rob Jackson
University/Major/degree: University of Georgia, BFA/MFA Jewelry & Metalwork
Were you a student or a professor? Undergrad and Graduate student at the Univ. of GA. Came to Cortona as a Professor after graduating from UGA
Semesters taught in Cortona: Taught: Summer 1991, Summer 1992, Spring 1994, Summer 1996, Summer 1997, Summer 2003, Summer 2006, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Summer 2014, Spring 2015, and Fall 2018
What courses did you teach in Cortona: Intro to Jewelry & Metalwork, Intermediate & Advanced Jewelry, Intermediate Metals, BFA Exit in Jewelry & Metals, Graduate Jewelry & Metals
Favorite flavor of gelato: Frutti di Bosco & Pino Penguino
Current profession: Faculty Emeritus/Studio Artist
Accolades: I was chosen as 1 of 10 metalsmiths invited to be included in The Penland Book of Jewelry. Each artist had an entire chapter devoted to their work, studio practice, aesthetic and influences (Published by Lark Books, Asheville, NC.)
Currently residing in: Amherst, MA
Tell us a little more about your career path.
I stumbled into jewelry and metalsmithing by accident. I didn’t go to college straight away after high school and signed up for an evening jewelry class at the YWCA in Boston. Working creatively with a jeweler’s sawframe, hammers and torches was instant gratification. I never looked back.
Let's talk about Cortona. What is one of your favorite memories from your time there?
One of the many incredible moments I’ve had in Italy was being able to experience the Palio in Siena. This medieval horse race, full of pageantry and tradition, has been going on for over 700 years.
How has Cortona influenced how you live or work today?
I have been greatly influenced by the Italian lifestyle, cuisine and culture and have gained a greater appreciation for “being in the moment”. I often reflect upon the Latin oxymoron “festina lente” or “make haste slowly” adopted by Emperors Augustus and Titus and the Medicis among others.
Speaking of influences, if you could have dinner with any three people, from history or alive today, who would you pick?
Galileo Galilei: Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer
Antoni Gaudí: architect and blacksmith
Dante Alighieri: Italian poet
Before we go, what are you currently working on? Any projects or announcements you would like to share?
My work “Single Shot” was included in the recent exhibition:
IMAGINE: Peace Now (The Innovative Merger of Art and Guns to Inspire New Expressions of Peace Now).
This exhibition addressed issues of gun violence and was exhibited at various venues around the country including:
The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
Wellington B. Gray Gallery, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Craft Alliance, St. Louis, MO
Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, Louisville, KY
Radius Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA