Scottsdale Public Art commissioned Jarvis Rockwell to create a drawing in the Civic Center Library in spring 2007. The drawing is titled, TODOS, (translated: Everything) and depicts forms that Jarvis encounters in free-form thought as he draws. Rockwell describes TODOS as a look at the world we are living in, surrounded by, and traveling through on our way to what can just barely be glimpsed beyond: the wide-open blue sky, free from chaos and full of vast amounts of light and air.
Rockwell is an artist who simply must create. There is the obvious connection with his father, famed illustrator Norman Rockwell, but Jarvis has a creative and artistic past of his own. He had formal training at the Art Students League in New York as well as the Art Institute in San Francisco, but quickly left academic structure to pursue his own conceptual approach to art. Rockwell began the wall drawings in his kitchen in North Adams, Massachusetts after being diagnosed with cancer. He was then asked to create drawings in out-of-the-way spaces at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Stairwells and odd corners of the building hold early drawing works by Jarvis. TODOS is only the third publicly accessible drawing by Jarvis in the country.
Each drawing is different, unique. They are snapshots of the artist’s mind at the time they were drawn. Some are almost purely architectural, full of straight lines and harsh angles. Others are light and whimsical, with cartoon-like faces and hot air balloons. But no matter the content of the work, the drawings never fail to captivate viewers. The incredible details in the drawings can be studied for hours, almost like other worlds Rockwell has brought us to. Because of the subtle colors and light line weights, the drawings force an intimacy not usually achieved with a two-dimensional work of art. By concentrating on the lines, they begin to shift and move and we can truly lose ourselves in each work, remembering visited places and finding new ones.
Artist Jarvis Rockwell’s five month residency in Scottsdale began with MAYA II, a monumental pyramid covered in toys from Rockwell’s personal collection that was displayed at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts from November 2006 through March 2007. The pyramid characterized Rockwell’s interest in culture and unique way of looking at the world.