Fay Jones (Seattle artist)

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Fay Jones, 2013

Fay Jones (born 1936, birth name Fay Bailey) is an American artist, based in Seattle, Washington. A large number of her works are exhibited in public places in the Pacific Northwest, including a mural in the Westlake Station of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and a painting in Seattle's opera house, McCaw Hall. A 1986 retrospective organized by the Boise Art Museum also showed at the Seattle Art Museum.[1]

Jones's father, Robeson Bailey (1906-1972), taught writing and was an early faculty member of the Middlebury College's Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Family friends in her childhood included Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost, Louis Untermeyer, John Ciardi, A. B. Guthrie and Wallace Stegner. However the family was not wealthy. For some years beginning in 1950, the family operated a small hotel in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, where Jones worked in the kitchen, as well as taking care of her younger siblings. In 1953, she graduated from high school and enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).[1]

In 1956, she met RISD drawing instructor Robert C. Jones (b. 1930); they married the following year, and moved to Seattle in 1960, where Robert Jones became a member of the art faculty of the University of Washington. They had four children, born between 1958 and 1966. Fay was primarily a homemaker in those years, but managed to set aside some time to make artworks, mainly in small formats. She had her first exhibit in 1970 at the Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle. The following year, she and her husband bought a run-down house, originally "more a shack" according to Jones, north of Seattle in the Skagit Valley, which became their summer place for the next 25 years. Over time they fixed up the house and built a separate outbuilding with studio space.[1]

Jones reputation as an artist grew. In the mid-1980s, she was selected, along with Roger Shimomura and Gene Gentry McMahon to design major murals for the Westlake Station of the new Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. A 1996 retrospective organized by the Boise Art Museum[2] also showed at the Seattle Art Museum and at the Washington State University Museum of Art in Pullman, Washington.[1]

She illustrated one card (Stasis) for the debut set of the soon-to-be-famous Magic: The Gathering trading card game as a favor for her nephew, the game's designer Richard Garfield.[3]

In the mid-1990s the Joneses sold their Skagit place and a few years later bought a house in Guanajuato, Mexico, where their son Tom already lived as a symphony orchestra musician. In 2006, Jones and her husband had a joint show at the Casa Museo Gene Byron in Guanajuato; however, they sold their home there in 2009 and bought a live/work studio in Tieton, Washington, near Yakima; both Joneses are active with the Tieton-based print studio Goathead Press. They maintain a primary residence in West Seattle.[1]


  • 2013 - Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors grant[4]
  • 2006 - Seattle Art Museum’s Poncho Artist of the Year award[4]
  • 1983 and 1990 - grants from the NEA[4]
  • 1984 - Washington State Arts Commission[4]
  • 1989 - La Napoli Art Foundation[4]


  1. ^ Regina Hackett and Sondra Shulman, Fay Jones: A 20 Year Retrospective : Boise Art Museum August 31-October 27, 1996 (catalog), University of Washington Press (January 1997), ISBN 0295975881.
  2. ^ Rosewater, Mark (June 20, 2016). "25 More Random Things About Magic". Magic the Gathering. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2016-06-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Fay Jones - Artists - Laura Russo Gallery | Portland | Oregon | Contemporary Art". www.laurarusso.com. Retrieved 2016-03-06. 
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