dorner work with zettl calligraphy

About Jack

and the joys of the internet

Our generation is part of so many new developments and we take many things for granted. And yet I am always enthusiastic about the opportunities that are given to us and what often results from them.

So today I would like to tell you about my friend Jack – whom I actually don’t know personally. The story started like this:

I already posted about a short video introducing my calligraphy that I uploaded to my channel. And also about the fact that book projects have resulted from this. Which in and of itself is gratifying.
Shortly thereafter I received an e-mail with 3 attachments – images of my calligraphic work from this video – and a quick question as to whether these 3 were for sale. Since I have received scam emails a few times, I thought in this direction for a moment. Then I saw the sender, Jack Dorner, an “old friend”. How come?

I have been offering art and collectibles online for over 20 years and in one of the shops antique chromolithographs. Jack has bought several of these lithographs over the years.
There must have been around 20. Eventually, a more detailed communication ensued and Jack showed me how he used these lithographs – my heart filled with joy: he used them to create highly original shower curtains (other decors too) and he creates the most interesting finials.

chromo lithograph with birds
Showered in Art – by Jack Dorner

calligraphy project

So now it should be my calligraphy. The first was this one. After having them framed, he was kind enough to email me a photo of them. It’s really nicely framed to show off the work even better.

framed calligraphy zettl

The other works of mine are still being framed, he says. Soon after, the next one was finished and it looks good too.

The collaboration

Well, Jack is an artist too, even if he pretends to be modest and says he’s no good as an artist, which of course is nonsense. His attractive works just go in a different direction than mine, are less emotional, and are characterized by cool elegance. And now Jack came up with an idea: would I consider adding calligraphy to one of his works? He would send me the originals, and they would stay with me, he just wanted a copy of them. I found it an attractive idea to combine these two different approaches and accepted.

Now, I wouldn’t dare to haphazardly spoil a colleague’s hard work. So I printed out some of his work and am continuing to work on it for study purposes.

jack dorner original

The first attempt looks like this. I’m not very enthusiastic about it myself, but Jack seems very pleased.

dorner original artwork overwritten

So I asked him if I could use other of his works in a completely different way – and again he is enthusiastic about it.
I deliberately chose a difficult job. Difficult because only black and white and thus predefined like a rock.

artwork by jack dorner

My first gimmicks look like this.

dorner and zettl co-work

(I’ve only done 4-5. It’s little more than gimmicks as I don’t know how it’s going to become ‘art’ yet. But it’s a delightful start). The first image came about when I heard Black Market from Weather Report. BTW Joe Zawinul was so Austrian.


I recently told you about another collaboration with Wolfgang Kubin. Both, Jack and Wolfgang are 77 years old and very productive. I like the idea of getting some of my “friends” together on a project, so I made a cover design for a forthcoming book by Kubin. A book about the poet prince Li Bai using our gimmick.

cover for li bai book

As I said, these are just the first, vague steps and I can’t yet see how art can come into play. But in order to move forward, I sent him back this first work so that he can continue working on it. If he hits a deadlock, he can send the work back to me so I can make changes. Work in progress so to speak.

Even if nothing useful has come up so far, I’m still glad that I dared to try it because it also has a symbolic meaning: cultural exchange, across continents, has always been very important to me.



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32 responses to “About Jack”

  1. klotylda avatar

    Bevor man es nicht versucht hat, wird man nicht wissen, ob es sich gelohnt hat.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Richtig, und manchmal stellt sich die Intuition erst während des Tuns ein.

  2. Cindy Georgakas avatar

    fascinating… thanks for sharing! ❣️

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! The joy of old sods 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!

      1. Cindy Georgakas avatar

        You’re so welcome. Oh yes indeed! ❣️

      2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar


  3. swabby429 avatar

    Trial and error along with collaboration is an amazing process. I’m sure your efforts will pan out well.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      There was a time when I often met up with painter friends and we painted together. One started, then the next continued, and then the next. Maybe nothing great ever came out of it, but somehow it helped everyone – and was fun. And cooperation always affects you in one way or another.

      1. swabby429 avatar

        This might be called artistic brainstorming.

  4. The Sicilian Storyteller avatar

    I love the birds. They remind me of wallpaper we had put up on one large wall of our sunroom. What a happy room that was with all my beautiful plants and birds perching on the windowsills outside to converse with the bird wallpaper inside! 🕊️

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      I can imagine. As so often it’s those little things that leave such deep impressions and gain a solid place in our memory.

  5. Ashley avatar

    An exciting collaboration. Art should not stand still. This might keep you busier than expected!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks very much! Yes, you always have to look for new ways of expression. Especially in old age you often run the risk of “ossifying” if you don’t move. Best regards from Vienna!

  6. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

    How amazing that you and Jack are collaborating in creating new artistic expressions! Your contributions have not only changed the visual effects, but also added new meaning to the initial work. Bravo to you both.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much for your support! Let’s see what transpires. In any case, a symbolic level has come into play that means a lot to me.

  7. sandyroybessandbugzy avatar

    So interesting to find someone using your art work and then create together. Fascinating story of creativity.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! It’s not that often that different artist work on one “painting”, probably for good reasons but I think it is worth a try.

  8. ee. avatar

    Unbearbeitet – sehr “brutale” Werke, meines Empfindens nach.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Danke schoen! Grundsätzlich liegt der Reiz in der Sache darin, das “Brutale” mit mehr Malerischem zu verbinden, sodass etwas entsteht, das den Flair von Art Brut hat. Mal sehen, ob dabei was rauskommt. Ich wollte einmal was zeigen, das ganz am Anfang einer Entwicklung steht.

  9. Renee Espriu avatar

    I do believe collaborations of different kinds can bring about some wonderful things. Certainly, both of these collaborations will turn into something ‘more’. I look forward to seeing what happens along these lines.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much, Renee, for you kind words! Of course, I have already experienced some types of collaboration and they are always fruitful – and first of all exciting 🙂

  10. Migy avatar

    Wow amazing! Thank you for sharing this story and your artworks. I really enjoyed reading your post. Have a wonderful week! 🙂

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words! A very happy week to you too! 🙂

  11. Edith avatar

    Eine sehr gute Win win-Situation finde ich. Und dass daraus eine Freundschaft erwächst, ist dann noch viel besser.
    Mit gefällt, was du zeigst, was daraus entstanden ist – für ihn, für dich.
    Man kann nur gewinnen!!!
    Einen feinen Tag für dich, lieber Friedrich
    gewünscht von mir. <3

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Danke, liebe Edith! Ab einem gewissen Alter wird es immer schwieriger, Leute zu treffen, die “auf der gleichen Welle schwimmen”. Zumindest was die Kunst betrifft.

      Dir auch einen feinen Tag – mit den beruehmten, Original-Sonnenstrahlen aus Wien 🙂 Die mit dem Walzerklang…

      1. Edith avatar

        So ist es, lieber Friedrich…. doch manchmal ist es auch ein wenig anders. Schau, ich habe dich hier getroffen und es ist, als ob ich dich schon lange kennen würde…
        Schunkelnde Grüße zurück zu dir…

  12. Jack Dorner avatar
    Jack Dorner

    Friedrich – Im so pleased – and very proud – to be working with you. What you created with my pieces in the background is really very fulfilling for me. Its gives me great pride that we have worked together and that you have used my pieces to work with and created

    something totally new and with such variety and aesthetic effect. Bravo for what you have accomplished. Jack

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks Jack, the joy is all mine! At our age it is rather rare to meet extraordinary people like you and even more rarely do artistic collaborations result from this. Your kind words encourage me to finally create something more substential. But we are young (at heart) and patient 🙂

  13. vermavkv avatar

    Very nice.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much!

  14. Dominik Alexander avatar

    What a wonderful collaboration. And not just that. This story also tells a lot about the positive possibilities that the world wide web is able to offer. Thanks for sharing, Friedrich 🙂

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much, Dominik!

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