Jack White and the Art of Animal Rummy

by Sean Hill
Screen-Shot-2020-06-08-at-11.24.56-AM-199x300 Jack White and the Art of Animal Rummy

© Rob Jones

If the biography of Rob Jones posted on the website of Animal Rummy offers any clues, the artist, Rob Jones, is as imaginative in the retelling of his life story—a story any fan of Lenny Bruce will admire—as he is in the posters he has made for bands ranging from the White Stripes to Spoon to Arcade Fire and, especially, the Raconteurs.

Of all the musicians that Jones owes his allegiance to, its easy to see that Jack White is the one most honored. Jones has done posters for the White Stripes, but he’s done even more so for Jack White’s solo shows and, of late, White’s project The Raconteurs, as evidenced by this Alice in Wonderland ode, replete with the image of Alice herself as imagined by Sir Hohn Tenniel, the English illustrator who provided the original drawings for Lewis Carroll’s famous tale.

The detail is ambitious, stunning. It looks as if it could have fallen from the pages of Carroll’s book. Speaking of books, notice that Alice is holding one. The title: Die Blechtrommel, Günter Grass’s famous novel more familiar to us as The Tin Drum. Grass won, of course, the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999, and if that isn’t an ingenious reference, I don’t know what is. The poster is priced at $60.

Screen-Shot-2020-06-08-at-11.40.26-AM-300x267 Jack White and the Art of Animal Rummy

© Rob Jones

Speaking of ingenious, here is something I’ve not seen before: a double-sided handbill, whose conceit is entirely unique. The price: $300.

What we have here is a Jack White piece from 2014, measuring only 13.5 by 24 inches and printed on thick-stocked chipboard in an edition of 321. It is, of course, a baseball card, entirely appropriate given the fact that the show was held at Fenway Park in Boston. The four-colored from depicts Jack White (with the indication he is from, of course, Detroit) as a vintage ball player, circa the early twentieth century, but not without a bit of ambivalence—note the industrial background that would have been appropriate to the time, which, coupled with those deep blues, really casts a pallor on the image. It is, to my mind, a statement. 

Screen-Shot-2020-06-08-at-11.49.21-AM-131x300 Jack White and the Art of Animal Rummy

© Rob Jones

Sticking to White, here’s a White Stripes poster celebrating their 2006 tour of Japan. Two colors, very simple, seem to point out what could range from simply a disastrous whaling expedition to the sublimity of Moby Dick. The red, couple with the black, is ominous. Note, too, the small quote attached; it reads, “Paradise unearned can breed only restlessness.” Jones himself adapted it from a quote by Stan Lee from the first issue of Silver Surfer (“Paradise unearned is but a land of shadow!”) but altered it to support both his disastrous image and the Garden of Eden visuals that accompanied this White Stripes tour—and I suspect that Jones is aware that the quote, too, echoes Milton in Paradise Lost, the classic Edenic image. This print is sold for $65.

Jones’s Animal Rummy has produced a number of striking images for each of White’s projects, and it is entirely worthwhile to explore the seven pages of posters.

You may also like

Leave a Reply