Jimmy Gordon

for Wolfboy

by Patrick McNeese

I have known the artist Jimmy Gordon since the early eighties when he returned home to Lexington after a long period in California. He was dressed completely in black leather with black spiky hair, dark sunglasses, and was driving a 56′ Buick Roadmaster. The look bespoke of a strange place, somewhere between a scary, skinny Elvis and an apocalyptic punk rocker.

Jimmy painted, a lot, and on any surface he deemed worthy. Our first collaboration was a mural on the side of the Deja Vu clothing store at the corner of Maxwell and S. Upper streets. The large painting depicted a man with a watermelon slice on his head, descending from the heavens onto a beach. The owners seemed pleased, but later the neighbors complained and it was taken down. Alas, the life of the artist.

Jimmy moved to Florida after a couple years back in Lexington, and descended on a beach himself, first in Miami and then Sarasota. He had a thing for the warmer climes, but we stayed in touch. He would mail me wild, self-made post cards and cassette tapes of his highly original music and sound-making.

He came back to town to live in 2000,and, as he had always done before, transformed his house into a place which could only be described as Gordonesque, his work all around, with little knickknacks, curios and cheap little toys everywhere, little things he was always buying and placing very thoughtfully around. He also bought some old cars and began to decorate them in his own special way. A documentary film needed making and so it came to be.

“Searching for Wolfboy: the Art of Jimmy Gordon” is an attempt to capture the visual output of a unique, Central Kentucky talent and, I feel, when he’s on his game, a surrealist painter who could exhibit along side the best of that genre.

Good film projects often come together in a seemingly effortless way, blessed from above, I reckon. The uber-talented Philip High granted me permission to use his music from a CD he had just finished recording. His work provided the structure to an edit that would have been difficult without his post-modern soundscapes to support the imagery.

The late and wonderful Mike Broadus and the ever-articulate artist Bob Morgan, both very close to the subject, were essential interviews in the film.

Also, the beautiful and strange cinematography of Dana Stokes, a good friend of Jimmy’s from his Florida days, flowed sublimely into place.

And, of course, the paintings, the personality, and the presence of the artist were the prime components of a film that always felt like a dream while I was editing it. I was never sure of where I was, of what had just occurred, or what was about to happen.

A fitting state of mind, given the subject.