John Lennon’s Bag One Collection

John Lennon was a keen artist from a young age, particularly interested in sketches, drawings and nonsense.  His early art combined satire, cartoon and wordplay, often with a sinister edge.

The Bag One collection was created as a wedding gift for Yoko Ono.  It is a chronicle of their wedding ceremony, their honeymoon, and also the infamous Bed-In.  Anthony Fawcett, in his book One Day at a Time, describes his role in the initial process:

  I kept in touch with John and Yoko after the Coventry Acorn Event [June 15th 1968], but the first attempts I made to interest John in lithography met with only a vague, distant response. The technicalities of the process seemed alien to him, accustomed as he was to the spontaneity and simplicity of cartoon drawing. John had always considered basic drawing, doodling and sketching his forte, as they best suited his impulsive creative methods; he liked to translate the image from his head to the paper as rapidly as possible and with the least amount of fuss. Often his drawing, like his rhetoric, could not keep pace with his meteoric rush of ideas.

‘John was slightly more enthusiastic about the project when, with the help of publisher Ed Newman and the Curwen Studio, I devised a way to shortcut the complicated procedure of working directly onto stone blocks or zinc plates. By using specially treated “litho paper”, which I had sent out to his house along with an array of suitable brushes, litho ink, and crayons, John would be able to draw or paint in his usual manner. The images could later be transferred from the paper onto sensitized zinc plates by means of an advanced technical process, and the lithographs printed in the traditional way.’

The inaugural exhibition of the work at London Arts Gallery in January 1970 was closed by Scotland Yard on the second day, with the eight erotic pictures removed and pressing charges.  A magistrate later dismissed the case, determining that the images were unlikely to deprave or corrupt.

The collection was later exhibited at Lee Nordness Galleries in February 1970.  Fawcett also describes the event:

 ‘The whole of the New York art scene and all the ‘beautiful people’ turned out. Dali came with his pet ocelot on a leash. The lithographs were on view in a specially created environment, where spectators were asked to remove their shoes.’

An edition of 300 lithographs, containing the original 14 pieces, three cover pages and a carrying bag were also published, each signed by Lennon.  A copy was auctioned at Christie’s in November 2011, fetching US$55,975.

Silver K is proud to have 4 of John Lennon’s Bag One Lithographs available, click here to view them.

Interview with Julian Lennon

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Many of us struggle to live up to our fathers expectations whether percieved or not, but what happens when your father is John Lennon?

Julian Lennon was having his first photographic exhibition in New York City and here he discussing living in his fathers shadow and the various pressures that placed him under. Great interview.

John Lennon’s Imagine Turns 40

Imagine Turns 40

These days with our fast paced lifestyle, albums come and go with the pace of a mouse click or a thumb tap on our iPhones. And then there are some albums that you gravitate back to again and again, and resonate with you and millions of other people around the world to gain the status of a classic album. John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ sits as an icon in this category for so many.

Listening the title track conjures up snap shots of the world around us, old and new which puts the obvious stamp of timeless on this song especially.

Released in 1971, ‘Imagine’ is considered the most popular of John Lennon’s works and was listed in 2003’s Rolling Stone magazine as the 76th greatest album in history.

The basic tracks for ‘Imagine’ were initially recorded in his home studio in Tittenhurst Park, however many of the instruments were re-recorded at the Record Plant in New York city with Phil Spector joining Lennon and Yoko Ono as co-producer on ‘Imagine’. There is also a video documentary available entitled ‘Gimme Some Truth: The Making Of John Lennon’s Imagine’ which details the evolution of some of the songs on the album.

As the title track and signature song ‘Imagine’ was written as a plea for world peace. In a book written by Geoffrey Giuliano called ‘Lennon In America’, Lennon commented that ‘Imagine’ was an “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it’s sugar coated, it’s accepted.”

Other stand out tracks on ‘Imagine’ include ‘Crippled Inside’ with its country esk twang jig along, the slow tempo blues track of ‘It’s So Hard’, ‘Gimme Some Truth’ which rocks along with bite and purpose, ‘How’ with its points of reflection and of course ‘Oh Yoko!’ ending the album with a beautiful tribute to Lennon’s beloved.