Artist, poet, actor
From James Semarks, 2004 DAW website:
We have very little bio for Jerry — perhaps the story is left to be told by himself, someday. Folks in the Workshop (1966-67) era recognize him as “the first hippie,” a truly transitional figure, organizer of the first “Love-In” of that time. With the coming of Jerry Younkins, Gary Grimshaw, Rob Tyner and many others, the torch was passed from the Artists Workshop storefront to the Grande Ballroom and the rest was history.
Jerry’s arrival at the 40th anniversary celebration (November 4, 2004) was a high point for all of us (and for Jerry, too) — he writes, “The time I spent in Detroit was one of the happiest I have had in a long time. So much to do & see, all those old faces. The poetry, the music. Wow!”
Jerry has been active as a poet and artist, right up to the present. He says he’s been in a very productive state for quite some time. He wants everyday people to comprehend what he’s saying, which, in itself, is a paradox, since common people watch football and read the Reader’s digest. Even though that’s a stereotype, Jerry thinks it’s not far from accurate.
“DAW was the perfect compliment to Detroit’s urban bleakness, and a most fitting and glorious flower to bloom on the dungheap of the arsenal of democracy. This group was an art-form in itself, nothing else like it in the American omnibus. I walked into the fray in winter of 1965, having just returned from California. I was a child, a kid and I guess I was the baby of the group. I’d read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road at fifteen and it was a scorching epiphany, my first real clue that, outside of a military career, there was life, exploding life, beyond the madras and khaki confines of Grosse Pointe. Kerouac became my mentor at a distance and the Beat Poets became my heroes. How I idolized these men and women who with the power of the word erased my sheltered view of reality. Of course the Beats were over by this time but I didn’t know that and even if I did I wouldn’t of cared because there it was on paper, their insights into the glaring crack in the world egg.
That was the first time I met Leni Sinclair, not married to John at the time but a couple just the same. Since I was lame I had no idea how to act around cool people. There was jazz and poetry and the small group gathered at the house were digging it. Well they should have; it was them celebrating themselves by forming an expanding circle of artists and art lovers. The jazz was the central link. The future was wide open. The energy was palpable. I became a fixture at the Sunday get togethers and shortly thereafter moved into one of the rooms in the Castle that John rented out. In bare bones that sets the scene.” -Letter from Jerry Younkins, May, 2014
“I’ve written mostly to clarify my relation with the universe, since real poetry is deeper sight, at least if you believe that poet is priest, shaman, elder and important connector…I’ve confined my work to four subject matters, or should I say, that’s what I’m attuned to. They are: green (often referred to as nature poetry, but green is all inclusive since it’s all nature), anti-war/social conscious, Buddhist influence, and finally, the old ways. Our culture has thrown away a vast amount of knowledge that is non-technological but sustaining. That knowledge makes its own voice.”
–Source: Jerry Younkins, DAW website (2004)
“Jerry Younkins is a man who doesn’t like to live in the past. Although he’s done many, many things which I find to be very interesting, I mostly find out about them from outside sources and then have him grudgingly confirm them. He’s done so many things of interest that I wouldn’t even know where to start. Do I tell you that he used to date Janis Joplin, and that they lived together? Do I tell you that he’s done lightshows for everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Alice Cooper? Do I tell you that he’s done posters for the likes of The Moody Blues and Jefferson Airplane? Do I tell you that he’s performed his poetry with the likes of John Sinclair and The MC5? Do I tell you that he’s published at least three books and two movies that I know of, and that he also starred in both movies? And on, and on, and on. As I said, I wouldn’t know where to start. To me, personally, one of the interesting things about Jerry is that he knew my favorite artist, Rick Griffin – not to mention Carl Lundgren, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, and others.” –source: Angelfire.com
Original artwork by Jerry Younkins is available at: ARTFINDER.COM Selected collages by Jerry Younkins produced for light shows: