For South Jeffco woman, art is a lifestyle

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By Deborah Swearingen

Sierra “Corky” Jon loves art. And, as an artist, she can do it all.

Jon sculpts, paints, welds, sketches. Her South Jeffco home is filled with her creations and with works by other artists she admires.

In fact, Jon can recall many times when she was picking up a check after selling a piece in a gallery, only to find a new piece of art she had to have. One such piece, a large sun, now hangs over her fireplace.

When she asked the gallery employee how much it would cost, “they said $380, and my check was $350,” Jon said, laughing.

“I said, ‘I’ll take that and give you $30 for it.’”

Jon moved to Littleton just over a year ago. The artist might now live in South Jeffco, but her artwork is housed in various locations across the U.S.

A life-size papier-mâché piano player sits in the lobby of Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. A papier-mâché replica of Charlie Chaplain stands in the lobby of a theater in Milwaukee. A giraffe relaxes in a children’s hospital in Cleveland, inviting patients and their siblings to climb on top.

Among local spots, her art is in the Outnumbered Art Gallery in downtown Littleton and the Depot Art Gallery.

And soon Jon’s art will be in Boulder County, too, when she donates a life-size Green Bay Packers cheerleader and other Packers memorabilia to the Rocky Flats Lounge, a Boulder County hangout for Packers fans that was gutted in a fire in 2015.

The cheerleader, made of paper-towel tubes, chicken wire, old telephone books and other recycled materials, now stands smiling next to a Denver Broncos cheerleader in the garage of Jon’s home.

Largely, Jon credits her parents — both artists as well — for encouragement when she was young. Every Christmas, packages of drawing paper, crayons, pencils and other art supplies sat under the tree waiting for Jon to rip apart the paper and begin creating.

“Everybody is born an artist,” Jon said. “… If you encourage it, everybody is born an artist. Really.”

The mother of five did the same with her children, understanding that encouragement is everything and allotting time each Saturday for art. She also did the same for her students. Though now retired, Jon taught art for decades.

“Just to see how they were enjoying it, having fun with it and creating” is what she always loved most about teaching. Jon never required her students to create specific works, instead giving them leeway to use their artistic discretion.