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Rosanne "Ronnie' Jacobson
My mother, Rosanne (Ronnie) Jacobson Bennett, was an artist who had a gift for creating drawings and paintings with highly detailed, expressive imagery along the lines of the German Expressionists of the 1930s. An admirer of the great Mexican muralists, she sought mural commissions wherever she could find them. Few of these projects remain today, one being an interior mural at The Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, California. A few photos remain of murals for a clothing wholesaler at the LA Mart in downtown L.A. shown below, and a pornographic mural for a seedy topless bar called Monty’s, on Seventh Street near the Westlake Park area. This mural was being painted while she was in her last year at Cal Arts in Valencia. One evening, she invited some of her classmates to meet at the bar, have a few beers, get up on the scaffold, and add their touch to the painting. One of these classmates is now a renowned painter named Eric Fischl. Soon after the completion of this project, the owner of the bar, my mother, and her mural partner, Mason Fong, were compelled to testify in court regarding the redeeming artistic value of the mural. Apparently, the judge was not convinced, and the owner was forced to paint it out.
Ronnie began her art training at Chouinard Art Institute in LA, in 1968 and followed it to Valencia, California, when it was purchased by the Disney Corporation and became the California Institute of Art, more commonly known as CalArts. She was a member of the first graduating class of CalArts. At the closing of the graduation ceremony, the class sang the Mickey Mouse Club song from beginning to end. It was a bittersweet time.
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