How has your view of John’s artwork changed over the years?
"I’m really stunned to see how his work and his shows have collected people. You get a nice family feeling when you go to a show, so there’s a social implication to John’s work. It has made people feel better, you know?"
Do you now regard his work differently now that you’re seeing it through older eyes?
"Well, I’m very proud of these beautiful drawings he did and I’m very proud of the fact that his sense of humor is in the pieces, but no. I don’t think in terms of age. I don’t think I’ve aged at all. I think I’m feeling younger."
Good for you. You’re 78 now?
"I had a birthday about two weeks ago and I looked around at all these other people who are not as high in numbers as I am and I realized, each time I add a year to my life, I’m prouder and happier. It gives me joy that I’m older because I survived using my wit and my luck. I was there, thank you very much. There’s a certain pride about that. You’ll be very proud of yourself, too, when you get there."
I hope so.
"You will. I’m certain of it."
Many of John’s drawings are highly personal. Is there a particular work you wish the public hadn’t seen?
"The first lithograph he did ("Bag One," 1969) I thought was very beautiful. The lines are incredibly artistic. It was brilliant, but at the time, it was sort of avant-garde and I didn’t realize it was going to be shown to people who are not used to that sort of art, which showed the two of us in a sexual position. It was kind of embarrassing, actually."
This collection of drawings functions as a kind of family photo album of you, John and Sean. Do you look back at the collection the way some people pore over old photo albums?
"I don’t go back. I’m not a person who deeply goes into nostalgia because my soul is rather sensitive and I don’t want to give my soul too much pressure, you know? So, I kind of avoid it."
Fair enough. One last question: I’m seven months pregnant with my first baby. Can you share any advice on motherhood?
"You’re going to have a baby very soon! He’s already checking you out –– the conversations you’re having, the thoughts in your head, the food you’re eating … The baby is sharing it all with you. Isn’t it great?"
It is! But is there one thing I should know before he's born?
"Every day is a first day. It’s nerve-wracking in a way. You don’t know if you’re doing the right thing or not, but it’s going to get better and better. And my son, he’s 35 now and I feel good because my son, well, he’s pretty great."
Perfect advice. Thank you.
"Congratulations. It’s a beautiful experience."
IF YOU GO
"Imagine, The Artwork of John Lennon: A Visual Tribute to Lennon’s 70th Year" runs Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 13 on St. Armands Circle. The collection includes nearly 100 drawings and handwritten song lyrics from 1964 to 1980. For those of you who toured the exhibit when it came to St. Armands in 2009, this year’s show includes four never-before-seen works. Donations will be accepted to benefit Take Stock in Children, a non-profit organization that provides college and vocational scholarships to low-income children.