Shields Landon Jones (b. 1901 / d. 1997)
Shields Landon Jones, also know as S.L. Jones, was born in Franklin County, Virginia as one of thirteen children. As a child, his family bought a small farm in West Virginia. At the age of seventeen, Jones left the farm to work on the railroad. Despite the hard, often dangerous, work Jones enjoyed the hunting and music that came along with the railroad business. Jones starting carving small figures to pass the time getting most of his inspiration from the woods. With music everywhere, he learned to be an accomplished fiddler and banjo player.
Using hardwoods like maple or walnut, Jones became known for his portrait heads. In the early 1970‘s Jones began to carve seriously. He built himself a studio behind his home in Pine Hill, West Virginia. Here he moved from a pocketknife to a professional wood chisel and began sculpting abstract faces from people of his past or visions of his dreams.
Jones was a self taught artist who approached his artistic problems with self refection instead of other’s advice. His sculptures often have a common theme not learned in academia but come from life experiences.
Jones’ sculpture and the drawings can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and the Museum of American Folk art, New York City. His works have been shown in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Jones died in West Virginia in 1997.