Artist and writer Jerry Wennstrom was born in New York, where he lived-out the first half of his prolific art career. The superficial post-Andy Warhol-Soho-art-scene in the late '70s repelled him. Yet his own obsession with art rang false as well.
In 1979, after days of fasting and realizing his limits as a studio painter, he destroyed his large body of art, gave away his possessions, and trusted the spirit of creativity itself to carry his life. He threw himself out into the world, penniless and homeless, for nearly fifteen years. And as he discovered, unseen hands carried his life.
Wennstrom began painting again, this time murals on the walls of the tall, 2,000-sq-ft space below the home they shared. He also started crafting large cabinets and sculptures, each exotic and evocative, embodying paradox and metaphorical opposites such as life and death, shadow and light, masculine and feminine.
In 2000, a Parabola film, In the Hands of Alchemy, was released describing his early painting career, the destruction of his life's work, the story of his personal transformation, and his eventual return to art. His life of artistic exile was told in his colorful autobiographical book, The Inspired Heart: An Artist's Journey of Transformation from Sentient Publications (2002).
At the age of 29, after producing a large body of work, artist Jerry Wennstrom destroyed all of his art and gave away everything he owned. For 15 years he lived a life of unconditional trust, allowing life to provide all that was needed.
His book, A Second Wind, fills in details of Wennstrom's early life, and picks up the story and shows the incredible work that has emerged from the last twenty years. This latter work is celebratory in nature, integrating joyful embodiment and revealing the golden thread of a long and magical journey. It is Wennstrom's second wind, his life and art resurrected.
Unlike other artists, Wennstrom has not sold his works, nor have they been widely exhibited. They all sit enshrined in his dramatically-painted large exhibit space beneath his home in the woods of Whidbey Island, WA. The few who have seen his sculptures were given a personal tour by Wennstrom himself, or they have viewed them when attending workshops in the space.
His meaningful tales of his early life, his bold-yet-transformative decision to destroy his life's work, and the intriguing stories behind his creations are as transformational as the art itself. More at: HandsofAlchemy.com
Wennstrom's disillusionment with the Soho art scene led him to dive into the depths of his own being and find out What Is, separate from the glittering illusions of art and the art market.