By Deb Silverthorn
Jerry Skibell creates strokes of nature and strokes of courage. The artist’s decadelong brush with Parkinson’s disease only inspires him.
“I’ve painted and drawn since I was a young child and still today I feel the need to be involved in an art project. I love it more all the time,” said the 76-year-old artist, whose elementary school teachers had him create murals on the school walls. “I went to business school because Dad said there wouldn’t be any money in art, but I’ve found a way through life to do it all and be successful.”
Skibell, for more than 35 years, has had his work shown in galleries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Houston, Lubbock, Tyler, New York, Santa Fe and in many online and published sources. His work hangs as part of many private collections and many corporate headquarters and he has donated two of his works to Temple Emanu-El, where he and his family have belonged for years.
His prints at Temple Emanu-El, of his “Back Yard Series,” are of two techniques. One is a linocut print with Chine collé, for which he carved shapes out of linoleum and laid them side by side to print. The other is a monotype print, of inks on plexiglass, which are covered and printed to a damp sheet of fine paper.
His artwork is of faces, flowers and plants, abstract collage designs, abstract charcoals and landscapes, often reflecting the serenity of his North Dallas home which he shares with Joan, his wife of 52 years. The couple are parents of Jeff (Ashley) and Mandy (Sherman) Hanu and the grandparents of Emily and Spencer Hanu and Michael and Kate Skibell.
Skibell’s studio at his Forest on the Creek home, where he’s hosted art tours, allows him to create in many mediums. During a visit to Santa Fe, he impulsively purchased an etching press, which he says has had great impact on his work. His art now incorporates the use of collage and drawing through solarplate etching, monotypes and linocuts.
Born and raised in Lubbock, Skibell is the son of Norma and Albert, of blessed memory, and the brother of Bobby, of blessed memory, Charles and Sammy. His parents came to Texas from Poland, first to Greenville and then Lubbock, where they donated land for that city’s Congregation Shaareth Israel.
After high school, Skibell earned his bachelor’s in studio art at the University of Texas followed by a year of graduate study in graphic arts. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve unit in San Marcos and Dallas before working at The Richards Group. He then embraced his father’s passion for real estate as his own in founding Skibell Properties. He has made his livelihood through commercial real estate and art, and believes the two complement each other.
Skibell has long been involved with the Parkinson’s Voice Project, which helps to preserve the voices of those with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders through speech therapy, follow-up support, research, education, and community awareness. For the artist, his tremors have allowed him to create new and unique effects in his charcoal drawings.
“I draw whenever and wherever I can, in my studio of course but while waiting on an appointment, on planes and always when traveling. Art is my thing,” said Skibell. He even installed an elevator at home for ready access to his studio.
“From those third-grade walls to the hundred-plus sketchbooks on my shelves,” said the man whose life is as colorful as his works, “I wake up and I just have to do it.”
For more on Skibell’s art, visit skibellart.com.