Jade Fon

Noted as both a skilled watercolorist and teacher, Jade Fon (Woo) was born in San Jose, California, but moved to the Southwest with his family when he was a child. One of his first art lessons was from a cowboy, who pointed to the surface of an outhouse as an example, to show him how light and shade were necessary to create form. Fon's first job was as a waiter in his uncle's restaurant, but by the 1930s he had moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in Hollywood film studios as a scenic artist. In the 1940s, an extended strike in Hollywood precipitated his move to San Francisco. There he was employed for a few years as a singer and emcee at the well-known Forbidden City nightclub on Sutter Street, sometimes creating watercolors of patrons and performers. The smoky club atmosphere aggravated his asthma, prompting Fon to shift to teaching, which he did for thirty years at Diablo Valley College, and ultimately he moved to Pacheco, near the town of Martinez. He also taught highly successful workshops at Asilomar, near Carmel, for over twenty years. Credit for the above information is given to: Asian American Art, 1850-1970, edited by Gordon H. Chang, Mark Dean Johnson, and Paul Karlstrom (By Stanford University Press, 2008 - 547 pages).
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