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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Art is freedom’: Retiree finds new purpose in creating art

Richard Jackin spent his life working hard, doing construction and odd jobs to make ends meet.

The moments he felt the most at peace were when he created art.

“To me, art is freedom,” Jackin said. “It has no limitations and that’s what inspires me, because I can do anything I want. It sets you free.”

During the 2008 recession, Jackin worked for Fannie Mae, helping the mortgage lender deal with foreclosed houses. As he cleaned out the homes, Jackin would set aside items for himself instead of throwing them away – a box of nails, a ceiling fan or a tray that held an antique Victrola turntable.

Then he’d head back to his duplex’s garage and turn the items into art.

Now at 63, Jackin lives in the Four Lakes area painting, carving and playing with glitter in his garage and adjacent homemade art gallery.

He’s in a new phase of his artistic journey, creating large multicolored sculptures from trees he has cut down on his property.

A handful of the colorful cage-like structures holds mannequins or baby dolls.

“I do it to provoke a reaction,” Jackin said of the sculptures. “Whether it’s a positive or negative reaction, that’s up to the viewer.”

While the sculptures are unconventional, Jackin also makes functional art, from his trees. Large slabs of the trees serve as table tops, branches become spindles in glossy chairs.

“I got enough work around here to keep me busy for the rest of my life,” Jackin said, gesturing to his large pile of yet-to-be-processed wood.

Jackin’s art continues to evolve. His current sculpture features the same brightly colored cage-like structure, with wood panels in the shape of flames sprouting from the middle covered in a dusting of glitter.

Devoting his retirement to art gives Jackin a natural joy.

“If I can do it, anyone could do it,” Jackin said.