Anand Jon's Night Gallery
[Update: A scheduled hearing to determine whether Anand Jon's 2008 conviction should be set aside in favor of a new trial was postponed to May 29, in order to allow defense attorneys more time to contact witnesses. Also, several images from Jon's support Web site, including those shown here, have been removed.]
We don't know much about art, but we know what scares us. Fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander, who is currently awaiting a decision about having his sexual assault and rape convictions overturned because of juror misconduct, has been doing a little sketching in his county jail cell. The results are posted as a gallery on a support Web site for Anand Jon, as he is known professionally. This isn't unicorns and rainbows stuff. Many of the images are strikingly sexual, with "Close Your Eyes" (right) depicting a couple about to kiss -- as the woman's mouth stretches open as menacing vagina. Other drawings attack the prosecution's case (and witnesses) that led jurors to find Jon guilty of 15 charges of sexual assault and one of rape.
The title of one chaotic sketch, "America's Next Top Whore/With Mara McIll Pain" (above), plays off the fact that Jon was once featured on the TV program, America's Next Top Model, while the subtitle is a bad pun on co-prosecutor Mara McIlvain's name. Clearly the naked and half-naked women crowding the sketch are Jon's accusers; equally obvious is another crime in the fashion designer's eyes -- they are overweight.
Then there are the historical figures who seem copied from posters or photographs: Hitler, Gandhi and, possibly for the contemporary palate, bin Laden. Perhaps not surprisingly, there are also images of winged escape, or of Jon as David fighting Goliath, as well as images of his supportive sister, Sanjana. Like so much evidence from his trial, the meaning of Anand Jon's sketches lies in the eye of the beholder.