Jack Barker 1933-2012




I’ve passed through the small town of Essex, IL (population 803) hundreds of times over the years. It was more or less the midpoint between my grandmother’s home in Thawville and Chicago’s western suburbs, where I lived. My grandmother passed away in 2010, but I had the occasion to drive through Essex last weekend. I was looking forward to seeing once again the metal artwork of Jack Barker, who routinely had dozens of his creations on display in front of his studio on the main drag through Essex. Sadly, I found only two recycled-metal sculptures outside his studio on Saturday, one of the horse shown below, the other a unicorn that looked like something a Game of Thrones Wilding might ride.

The spareness of the art studio was explained to me Saturday night, when a web search led to the discovery that Jack died a year ago this month.