Jock McDonald, traveling people photographer, musician and natural story teller… joins us to discuss his fascinating and unique creative upbringing and the adventures he experienced along the way.
From exhibiting and documenting in Cold War era Soviet Union, photographing Robin Williams amongst hundreds of rat traps, fanning out before working with Evander Holyfield, explaining his frequent flyer miles to China, Nicaragua and Cuba to the authorities and much more… this episode is packed with a long and twisting tale of Jock’s path to becoming the artist he is today.
Immediately we dive deeply into the roots of Jock’s creativity and the early opportunities that molded his views on the world. Including the story of his mother, a talented sculptor and painter, and his step father, Rene Di Rosa, an art collector and founder of the Di Rosa Preserve Center for Contemporary Art. His childhood was a whirlwind of family dinners, hosting highly notable artists, offering inspirational conversations a curious and creative kid like Jock McDonald could eavesdrop on.
One of the conversions that struck me… that one probing question, which is .. What makes art… What is it?
– Jock McDonald talking about discussions he overheard.
Art is made up of three things.. 1. It has content, it has an idea. 2. It has craft, it’s well made.. 3. Most importantly, it has mystery.
– Answer by Al Farrow and Jock’s favorite.
At 14 years of age, Jock broke his back, falling 40 feet from a tree. During the course of his year of recovery, he spent his time reading the entire 22 volumes of Life magazine on photography and Edward West’s day books, fantasizing about what it would be like to be a photographer.
In the early 90’s Jock was invited to exhibit his work at the Fortress of Peter and Paul. An event sponsored by both the Red Army and the American Embassy in Lenengrade. It’s one hell of a fascinating story.
Who are we kidding, this entire interview is a flowing series of fascinating series. So hit play… and if you dig the show, we’d love a Share on Facebook.
Jock McDonald’s Links
- Cuba Stories at The Image Flow
- Cuba: The Ultimate Road Trip
- Mental Flash January 31, 1990: McDonald’s Opens in the Soviet Union
- The Rurals (initially, Faces of the Enemy)
- The Russians
- Rêne Di Rosa
- Irving Penn
- Dorothea Lange
- Garry Winogrand
- Diane Arbus
- Roy De Forest
- Al Farrow
Having Heroes is an important part of being an artist. It’s built on those that went before. You’re sorta standing on the shoulders of those thats gone before you.
– Jock McDonald