Taking it to the next level
It's common these days for athletes to get pledges before they embark on their next marathon or sporting feat for charity.
But local artist Jonah Jones has come up with a more creative way to raise funds for two of his favourite non-profit organisations.
After taking part in an arduous charity ride from Turin, Italy to Monte Carlo on September 4 to 11, Mr Jones has created a commemorative painting that's up for auction on his website from now until next Sunday at 5pm. He has also produced some 16” x 20” individually signed posters that are for sale for $45.
Proceeds from all purchases will be split between cancer charity PALS and the Bermuda Arts Centre in Dockyard.
Mr Jones said: “I am very involved in the arts and greatly believe in the grass roots level art organisations, like BACD, and they just need a little boost every now and again to keep them functioning.
“And with PALS, I have known [president] Ann Smith Gordon for a long time and think she is a wonderful person and find it amazing what she does. My father at the moment is having challenges with cancer, so it makes it all the more poignant.”
He has asked for interested bidders to e-mail him their pledges and he will update the website once a higher bid comes in.
Mr Jones describes the 'Cycle of Life' painting as one of his more unusual pieces seeing that it portrays the group of Bermuda riders training on the hills in Bermuda, yet looming in the background are the foothills and high mountains of the Alps.
“I love the way the painting has meshed together, telling a story of the journey,” he explained.
Mr Jones came up with the unique fundraising idea, partly because he felt awkward asking people for money for an activity he wanted to take part in.
“I am quite a sporty guy, but seeing that I also have this other talent and skill for art I felt more comfortable being able to give something back, a physical object that they could keep, instead of asking for sponsorship,” he said.
“It's fine to get pledges, but I am kind of shy when it comes to asking people for money.”
The artist comes from a very sporty background, having spent five years as a Royal Marine Commando and also took part in the Ottawa Marathon this past May.
Still he said the recent five-day, 465km cycle was one of the most gruelling physical challenges of his life. “This was up there with the commando course and was very arduous just cycling up hill. Even if you cycle up Lighthouse Hill in Bermuda your heart is beating really fast and hard, but imagine doing that for two hours straight.”
He was part of a group of 23 cyclists taking part in the fundraising event and said it was a “wonderful thing” to enjoy the experience together.
“There was a lot of camaraderie going on and we supported each other. We were cycling through a lot of mountainous villages in France and it was fantastic, the food and scenery.
“The most rewarding part for me was after we got over the second mountain. I had a little emotional moment because when you get to the top you are very physically spent, you have nothing left, you put so much into it, but it's a feeling of achievement when you are surrounded by the beauty. You have that feeling of success and you have done it with a group of people who all did it together.”
He said he casually knew a handful of the guys who took part in the cycle, but having a common goal and mission really made their bond stronger.
Mr Jones has been cycling since he was a child and uses a cycle trailer to get to different locations on the Island to paint.
When he was younger, he and wife Jo Stanton would go on cycling holidays and take gear with them, so they could camp or stay in small guest houses in France.
But he hadn't done anything this competitive or any cycling to this degree before. “It's not really the distance, it was the elevation every day which makes it tough,” he added.
For more information on the silent auction or poster; or to find out more about Mr Jones' recent adventure, visit www.jonah-art.com.