Friday, April 11, 2008

Jackie Hoysted's Cigarette Art: A Year Later

Nearly a year after first meeting Jackie Hoysted the smoker, we caught up with her re-invented non-smoking self while she was volunteering at the Amy Lin exhibition at The Art League last night. Not only is Hoysted now celebrating her smoke-free life, looking radiant and healthy as ever, but she's also excitedly preparing to exhibit her smoking related art works combined with gorgeously displayed poetry at Artomatic.

Hoysted is a Maryland artist who explores the psychology of smoking and quitting. She smoked for over 20 years and has been smoke-free since July 9, 2007. Her blog posts her smoking related art and writings on how her "quit" is going. In an effort to chronicle her journey, she began an art project designed to enlist others in the shared experience of "the last cigarette." She sent a call to the public. Smokers could participate in the project by mailing their Last Cigarettes along with their plan to quit. She hoped to immortalize the effort in a work of art.

Hoysted had completed an image entitled Destruction. It is a collage of burnt watercolor paper soaked in cigarette butts and sprayed with nicotine “dye” (i.e. cigarette butts soaked in water over a few weeks). She had planned to continue in this vein for a while - as she found it both therapeutic and disgusting. She exhibited at: 9x10 WPA/C Member Show, William Parker Gallery, DC; and DCAC Wall Mountables, Washington DC.

What happened though, was that Hoysted found it very difficult to get contributions of "last cigarettes" because smokers find it too hard to part with them even when they have made the commitment to stop smoking. She's resigned herself to the probability that it would be easier to get cigarettes of people who are not trying to stop.

Hoysted's exhibits over the past year include: Delaplaine Arts Center, Regional juried show; Glenview Mansion, Rockville Art League juried show; Corcoran College of Art & Design, Washington DC.; Artomatic 2007; and a solo show at Gaithersburg City Hall, MD, juried. She continues her active participation in the Rockville Art League and in her participation in arts training through The Corcoran.

If you can't part with your pack, send a postcard or photos with your thoughts/story on smoking; Jackie will endeavor to include them all in a handmade book. For details go to: