Jack Frost (1915-1997) was a New England sketch artist born in Eastport Maine on December 22, 1915 to Elizabeth and Edward Frost. By age 10, he was drawing animals and people on the wharf behind his Dad’s fine men’s European apparel store. Jack was an innately God gifted artist, who decades later, would be teaching fine art at Boston College, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and many other venues.
After is graduation from the University of Maine, he went to the staff of the Boston Herald, and later became an artist and columnist for the Boston Post. It’s believed that it is here that his friendship and association with Boston Post journalist William Schofield led to the creation of the Boston Freedom Trail and his published works with Robert Booth and the Boston Freedom Trail Guidebooks, including ‘Port Book’.
In 1958 Newburyport was one of twenty-nine cities to adopt the vision of Jack Frost ‘Yankee Homecoming”. At the time, Newburyport was suffering from a regional and national ‘reputation” crisis due to crime and corruption. Many in town had lost hope on any change or improvement. It wasn’t just in Newburyport. Businesses all across American were leaving the urban centers and depressed inner commercial districts. Jack Frost and some powerful financial backers including ties to ‘American Express”, began a\to implement his vision of a “national pilgrimage back east where it all began.” His intention was to restore pride and interest in old cities like Newburyport that were the ‘historic homesteads where their ancestors had once lived’ and the “roots” of their own national identity. After sixty-two years, Newburyport is the only surviving participant of this original vision.
The Jack and Jillson Frost Project is a tribute to this pilgrimage, bringing Jack Frost back home to where it all began in this very special Yankee Homecoming exhibit. The original works of Jack Frost are made possible by the collaboration of his daughter Jillson and John Brown, artist of the Spirit of Newburyport, and Coordinator of the 4th Annual Inn Street Artisans Revival. Up to a dozen framed original sketches, out of an existing 244 images, (twelve of which were left by a Boston dumpster and recently recovered) will be featured by Greg Nikas, owner of Sweethaven Gallery on Inn Street. Exhibit will begin with Yankee Homecoming on Saturday July 27th and runs through Sunday August 4th. Reproductions will be available for sale. A future publication is being planned along with other exhibits in Boston and Jacks home state of Maine. The goal is to ensure that Jacks vision is appreciated, recognized, and more importantly, ensure that the last remaining body of his work is preserved in a museum where it belongs.
More information, along with a GoFunedMe project to make this all possible, is available at the following address; www.jackandjillsonfrost.com.
As the first born child of Jack Frost, I learned how to contend with, and accept my father’s irrepressible, extroverted, free spirited, convivial nature, gallivanting about fervently expressing his God given art while following his true passion – The love of famous people, events, places of historical notoriety, and his concept of beauty. He had a great love for architecture, as well as large ships and the wildness of the sea.
Dad was born on December 22, 1915 in Eastport Maine to Elizabeth and Edward Frost. By age 10, Dad was drawing animals and people on the wharf behind his Dad’s fine men’s European apparel store, selling his 8.5 x 11 “, school lined, paper sketches for $1.00 each, mostly of pretty ladies, their kids, and pets. Even back then, his charm was quite evident and irresistible. Dad was an innately God gifted artist, who decades later, would be teaching fine art at Boston College, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and many other venues.
I feel in my heart, that my Dad’s success as an artist, who actually earned a living by his art, was his brilliant satirical wit over abundant charm. His vibrant gift of gab, and ability to sway and convince people to conceive his genius projects, endeavors and ideas, accept, and even invest and partner with him in them. He had a very adventurous quest for wandering wild, free, and unencumbered in his soul that went sadly unfulfilled. He admitted this to me with tearful eyes at age 22 while I was preparing to venture off to San Francisco to my ‘call of the wild’ ~ that of joining the hippie movement. He loved my independence and courage to leave my life behind to pursue a grand new adventure on my own as a young maiden, stating he wished he could have done the same.
Though Dad was not shy outwardly, loved making people laugh, and was a crowd pleaser ~ there was a high hearted, empathic, ultra sensitive soul, that lay hidden and un-addressed deep within his heart, that only his family and good friends knew. He felt life and humanity strongly! There would be times I would go to his studio/office wanting to go talk with him. Being like him, I would sense and feel his sadness. I would hear him softly sobbing and grieving over his favorite classical and opera music, while the life he yearned for, but could never have, in this lifetime.
My Father left me the legacy of being able to pursue the exciting, wild and free life, he always yearned for along with his quick wit~ charm~ bright mind and creative genius, soft heart, sensitive soul, and wacky, charming wit. Though it isn’t easy to live as an empath and creative genius, I would have it no other way~ I am eternally grateful to you Dad and I love and miss you. Hopefully you will enjoy this lovely homage to you, your life, and creative works.
In deepest love and regards Dad
Your first girl,
Jillson E Frost