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A comprehensive collection of John Lennon's visual art

In the years since his death, John Lennon's whimsical artwork has appeared on baby bedding, greeting cards, T-shirts, prints, posters and even in a few slim books. But this volume is the most comprehensive collection of his visual works to date. The book includes early drawings inspired by Ivanhoe and other childhood reading, as well as Lennon's darkly funny, Thurber-esque cartoons of the mid-1960s. And it concludes with his gentle, almost Matisse-like sketches of family life with Yoko Ono and son Sean in the late 1970s. Together, you get a full sense of how Lennon used simple artworks to express himself throughout his life.

Lennon dropped out of the Liverpool College of Art to become a full-time Beatle in his early 20s. Probably a good move. Unlike his classmate Stu Sutcliffe, Lennon didn't have the makings of a great painter. Yet, he might've made it as a cartoonist. The works here demonstrate imagination and potential, and a fluency for relating concepts in pencil, ink and brush. With a few minimal lines, Lennon could clearly convey whatever was on his mind: silly, sentimental or sad. Which is what it was all about: He used art to express an idea and then quickly moved on to the next thing on his agenda, be it writing or recording a song, or baking bread for Sean and Yoko during his house-husband years.

The book's text, on the other hand, seems to suggest Lennon should be acclaimed as a great visual artist as well as musician. That's pushing it. Certainly, he had his own style and you can see him working to develop it in different ways. For example, late in life, he started experimenting with Japanese-style watercolor and brushes. But his visual art is just one aspect of Lennon, not the big picture. Leaving art school was no mistake or lost opportunity. By leaving, he was following his true passion: music. And that's what made him the man we remember today. – John Firehammer

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

John Lennon: The Collected Artwork
by Scott Gutterman (author) John Lennon (artist) Yoko Ono (Foreword)
Insight Editions
2014, 204 pages, 11.2 x 11.2 x 1 inches
$34 Buy a copy on Amazon

Tim & Rosemary Leary, John Lennon & Yoko Ono in conversation in 1969 - released for 1st time today

Michael Horowitz*, Timothy Leary's longtime archivist, has permitted the Timothy Leary Archives website to publish a transcription of a tape recorded conversation between Dr. Leary and his wife Rosemary, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono, made during John and Yoko's Bed-In for Peace in Montreal, May 1969. Tim had given it to Michael, in 1984, as a present for finishing Tim's bibliography.

The conversation took place during John and Yoko’s week-long Bed-In, on May 29th, 1969. This is just a few months before John would leave the Beatles and move with Yoko to the U.S. where they were closely monitored by the FBI and threatened with deportation, and ten months before Tim would be put in prison for possessing a minuscule amount of marijuana, and Rosemary would be putting on benefits to raise money for his appeal.

This transcript was intended to be added to a previously published piece, “Thank God for the Beatles” (The Beatles Book, 1968), an essay about the Beatles as "evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with mysterious power to create a new human species," to be published in an anthology of Tim's shorter writings, but the project was abandoned.

The transcript, as far as we can tell, has remained unpublished until now.

Transcription of a tape recorded conversation between Timothy Leary and his wife Rosemary, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono

*Michael Horowitz was Timothy Leary's archivist, editor and bibliographer. He co-founded the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library and co-edited Moksha: Aldous Huxley's Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience and Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience (with Cynthia Palmer). He currently operates Flashback Books, an online store, specializing in rare and out of print books on psychedelic science, history and literature.

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": John Lennon's Rolls Royce

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. I'll be featuring posts in this series all week. Want to see them all? Check out the archive post. I'll update the full list there every morning.

This car sits in the lobby of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. It once belonged to John Lennon, hence the paint job. But that's not the only customization. Inside, apparently, there is a fold-out bed, a portable refrigerator, and a record player. There also used to be a TV. Bear in mind, all these changes were made in the mid-to-late 1960s, when the whole refrigerator-and-TV-in-a-car thing were much more impressive feats of technology.

Sean Rodman works at the Royal BC Museum and sent in this photo, along with a request for assistance. On the roof of the car is a symbol that is, ostensibly, the sign for Libra. Except that it doesn't really resemble the sign for Libra. The Royal BC Museum is confused. Maybe you guys know what this is: