In 2012 Jess Black released an entire art collection about his experience in and eventually abandoning the Jehovah’s Witness religion. An art collection of this kind had never been done before. The live streaming exhibition with a 3-hour live chat resulted in people signing on from six continents, 25 countries, and 312 cities. The title of the collection was Leather Bound in Black or Red, which Black states is a reference to the color choice every time he was given a New World Translation Bible. Black is now offering an affordable limited edition print to collectors from the Leather Bound in Black or Red collection.
One of the things that became evident is that the the price point of the paintings was out of reach for most of the people to whom the paintings meant the most. People asked for prints or posters of some of the paintings, but offering any type of print program was not part of the business plan, at least at the time. This changed when Leigh & Luca – New York contacted Jess Black to do a line of fashion scarves that featured his art work. Some of the advance sales were to people who could not afford a $5000 paintings, but could afford a $300 scarf. Black was sent several pictures of framed scarves that adorned people’s walls. It was at this moment that the decision to make low quantity prints occurred.
The painting selected was Running From Grace. This painting encapsulates 10 years of Black’s life, the two years leading up to him leaving the JW faith and the eight years in New York living on his own. He explains, “This paintings is not about religious oppression. It’s about freedom and truth. Not “The Truth,” but the real truth that they don’t want you to know. It was difficult at first. Being a Jehovah’s Witness means you are not given the tools to deal with or navigate the world outside that cultish bubble. But once you figure it out there is no better life.”
Running From Grace is filled with subtleties and viewers of the piece will continue to see something new to which they will personally relate. It is a 20×16 on archival paper. Each piece is hand signed and numbered by the artist with a maximum edition of 25. Each includes a certificate of authenticity and sells for $425. For more details or to purchase a print please visit Jess Black’s website.