Q&A with Robert Jones

December 25, 2013 

Robert Jones painted a Christmas nativity scene for Food Depot.

MICHAEL W. PANNELL — For The Sun News

City of residence: Warner Robins

Occupation: Sign painter/mural artist

QUESTION: How did you get started in art?

ANSWER: I started drawing as a kid. I started drawing in the dirt when I was 4 or 5. Being a kid, I got in trouble sometimes, and it kept me from getting a butt-whipping from my mom. Drawing kept me focused and out of trouble.

QUESTION: How did it develop?

ANSWER: My grandmother gave me paper bags and pieces of charcoal from the fireplace to draw with. When I started school, I enjoyed art and started winning awards -- that’s always nice.

Out of high school I went into the Air Force and was an administration specialist. I always wanted to get into graphic arts, but they wouldn’t let me. One Friday, the base general showed up at our squadron mad as everything that I hadn’t won first place in a base contest for a picture I’d done. I had won second. He told me I’d be working in graphics from then on, and Monday morning I was transferred.

QUESTION: What was the picture?

ANSWER: A painting of a lady praying in a choir gown and to her left was the Statue of Liberty. There was an American flag draped alongside. Former State Sen. Robert Brown had it hanging in his office.

QUESTION: How long have you been doing signs and windows?

ANSWER: I was at a friend’s barber shop, and he asked me to paint something on his window. People complemented it and started requesting them, so it all started from that back in 1992.

QUESTION: Do you still work on canvas and other forms?

ANSWER: Oh yeah. I do everything from portraits to signs to windows to wall murals. I do big and small, but they’re all hand painted. That’s the thing; they’re all hand painted.

QUESTION: Where do you mostly work?

ANSWER: All over Middle Georgia. A lot in Warner Robins, Macon, Peach County, all over Middle Georgia and as far away as Atlanta. I’ve done work as far away as Tucson, Ariz., and been asked to do things in New York and Detroit, but if I started working that far away I’d be traveling too much. I’d rather be able to do my best here.

QUESTION: Whether they know it or not, a lot of people have seen your work.

ANSWER: I’ve painted a lot of scenes on store windows through the years. Over time it changes, and different stores come and go.

QUESTION: What’s the biggest you’ve done?

ANSWER: I did a 22-foot-by-53-foot wall with a scene of country and western stars on it for a place called The Cowboy in Macon. I had them driving into Macon in their Cadillacs with the Macon skyline in back. I had Garth Brooks with his logo beaming into the sky like Batman.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite one you’ve done?

ANSWER: I like the Christmas nativity scene I just did for Food Depot. They’re nice people, and I enjoy working for them. I believe we should remember what Christmas is really all about and that there’s more to it than just “Merry Christmas.” We celebrate the fact Christ the Savior was born. That’s what it’s about -- and being thankful.

QUESTION: How long did that one take?

ANSWER: Right at three days, and I paint quite fast. I have techniques to get quality and have realism, but I do it quickly.

QUESTION: You paint it, but do you clean it off?

ANSWER: Yep, I do it all. I’ve got my own formula to take it off with, so it doesn’t damage anything and the window is clean.

QUESTION: What does it feel like to stand back and see what you’ve done?

ANSWER: Awful good. It’s good 24/7 advertising for the business plus people come up and compliment me and tell me it makes them feel good to see it. I can go home with a smile on my face.

QUESTION: How do people contact you?

ANSWER: Call my voicemail at 478-749-4517, and I’ll call back.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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