One of the closest friends of my mother, Eleanor Dickinson was Jo Hanson (1918 – 2007). Like herself, Jo’s art was always interesting, precise, well-considered, and different. Three of Jo’s pieces owned by my family are good examples:
- An oak coffee table she made for me in 1982 out of scrap wood Jo salvaged from abandoned shipping pallets
- A plywood cutout painting of two figures taken from a news photo
- Foam tombstones and pictures of leaves from the trees near “The Crab Orchard Cemetery” from a 1974 exhibition of that name based on Jo’s Southern Illinois ancestral graveyard
One of my favorite Jo Hanson memories is hearing her talk about taking on the IRS. The tax service kept auditing her. Year after year, they said that Jo could not deduct her art supplies because was a only a hobbyist since never made a profit. Her many art exhibits, career as a San Francisco Arts Commissioner, and National Endowment for the Arts artist’s fellowship made no impression on the IRS. After many years of fighting, she eventually convinced the IRS that she had a citizen’s right to be in an unprofitable profession. Only Jo could have won that battle with such style and energy.
Images Copyright 1982-2011 by Katy Dickinson