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Nathan Jones

Artist and inventor Nathan Jones was born on June 27, 1942, in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Bertha Lee Jones and Eunice Jones. When Jones was young, his family moved to West Dallas, Texas, where he lived with his cousin, Helen. With the encouragement of his mother, he began painting at the age of seven. Jones attended George Washington Carver grade school, then CF Carr, and Fanny C. Harris schools. Jones went to James Madison High School, where he met his future wife. After his high school graduation, Jones attended Texas Southern University, where he first became aware of another black artist, Dr. John Biggers.

After attending Texas Southern University, Jones moved to Columbus College of Art and Design, where he learned about art history and theory. He entered the University of Texas at Arlington, where he studied two years of architecture, earning a two-year certification in architecture; he also earned his B.F.A. degree while attending the University of Texas at Arlington. Jones also attended El Centro College,the University of Dallas for special training in lithography, Eastfield College in order to study printing and also Richland College. He spent a total of ten years in school studying. In 1975, Jones’s first museum show was held at the Midland Museum of Fine Arts; he was an instant success, selling around twenty-five paintings for $30,000. Jones continued to have shows in Houston throughout the 1970s and became financially successful.

In 1981, Jones designed a commemorative U.S. postage stamp for Dr. Charles Drew; that same year, Jones became the creator of the cover for the 1981-82 Southwestern Bell Telephone Directory. Jones had been interested in inventions since childhood, and as an adult began to strive towards patenting some of his own. Jones invented a simple device called the Multi Caddy, which cleans most golf equipment; he then founded MultiGolf Systems International of Texas, LP, a company devoted to selling his invention. Subsequently Jones has patented a total of five inventions which have gone into production for commercial retail. In 1992, Jones founded N.J.K. Properties, Inc., beginning his own architectural business and designing a number of buildings in Texas, which include the Fitzhugh Apartment Complex. Jones has also developed an authentic historical art series, the Buffalo Soldier Series, based on nine years of research into the history of African American soldiers.

Accession Number

A2007.237

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2007

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

James Madison High School

George Washington Carver Grade School

CF Carr School

Fannie C. Harris School

University of Texas at Arlington

Columbus College of Art and Design

Texas Southern University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nathan

Birth City, State, Country

Shreveport

HM ID

JON17

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/27/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Painter, architect, and inventor Nathan Jones (1942 - ) had a lucrative art career nationally and internationally. Jones held seven patents, including one for the Multicaddie, a device that cleans most golf equipment. Jones was also a successful architect; he was the founder of N.J.K. Properties, Inc., an architectural firm that designed a number of buildings in Texas.

Employment

MultiGolf Systems International

N.J.K. Properties, Inc.

Favorite Color

Burgundy

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathan Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones recalls his paternal grandfather, who was born into slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones talks about his family's land in Shreveport, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his family community in Shreveport, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathan Jones describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathan Jones remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones talks about the racial demographics of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones talks about housing segregation in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones describes his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones talks about the mass incarceration of African Americans in Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones remembers his early interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathan Jones describes his elementary schools in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones recalls his early artistic influences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones remembers lessons from his schoolteachers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones describes the start of his painting career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones recalls enrolling at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones recalls transferring to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his experiences at the Columbus College of Art and Design

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones recalls his medical exemption from U.S. military service

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones remembers earning his degree in art

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones recalls studying architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones remembers his professional aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones recalls his art show at Reverchon Park in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones talks about earning a living as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his beliefs about material goods

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones describes his artistic style and process

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathan Jones describes the chemicals he uses in painting

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones talks about researching the subjects of his paintings

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones describes his postage stamp designs

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones recalls his commission to paint 'Now What Did I Do With That Nutmeg?'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones remembers inventing the Multicaddie

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones talks about the success of the Multicaddie

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his ambitions for Multigolf Systems International

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones narrates his photographs and paintings

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Nathan Jones recalls his art show at Reverchon Park in Dallas, Texas
Nathan Jones remembers inventing the Multicaddie
Transcript
Okay. Well you see, what I'm trying to do, is trying to find out in a chronological way what you did next. So we're jumping too--we're jumping around too much I think. So I'm trying to find out what you did after you got out of the University of Texas [University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas].$$Well after I got out of University of Texas, I continued to--that's when I did my Reverchon [Reverchon Park, Dallas, Texas] art show and made all this money, and then after that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well tell me the story of that--okay, yeah all right.$$See I--$$Let's tell that story and then--$$Well, the way that happened, a girl by the name of Delores Martin is the one that intro- asked me to participate in this show. And I said, "Delores, I shouldn't do it because it's in--right there in Highland Park [Texas]," where it's the most prejudiced place in the United States I feel right there. And she said, "No Nathan [HistoryMaker Nathan Jones], I think you ought to do it 'cause, you know, they're a little bit open-minded." And I was very hesitant. And I went down and I did that show, and it was a three-day show. First day only lasted about a half day, sold all of my paintings except one. So I was rich (laughter). I felt rich. I had money, lots of it when I bought me a Continental [Lincoln Continental] and all kinds of stuff. But that was my beginning right there. So, and my wife and I got to move from Oak Cliff [Dallas, Texas] to North Dallas [Dallas, Texas] and--and we played with the money and we--I mean, it was just a real exciting. You know, we made all that money. And I kept this one painting--$$About how much money are we talking about?$$Oh, about thirty thousand dollars at least.$$And off of how many paintings sold?$$I probably had no more than probably twenty-five paintings. My paintings was never inexpensive. People used to laugh at me (laughter), but my teacher told me, Mrs. Collins, Gladys Collins [Gladys I. Collins], she said, "Set your price and don't negotiate it." She always said it, set your price. So what I always--what I do I put the price that I think it's worth and then I put the price that you can get it for. Now if you don't like the price that you can get it for, I go back and tell you, look, here's what you're getting. Here is the actual price. Now I got two prices, I got one. I used to have these six thousand--I was hung up on six thousand dollar prices way back then. Tell you what happened, while I was out--I was out--while I was on the Reverchon--out at Reverchon Park, here's how I made a lot of that money. A guy called me after I had gotten home and I had paintings that I would not take out of the house 'cause I didn't think I was gonna do any good with those. But these were my private things. Guy named Ray Ives [ph.] called me and he says, "Nathan, my brother," that's the way he talked. Nathan, my brother. And he's a white guy. He says, "I love your work and I wanna buy some." Now this guy's rich, okay. Lived on Turtle Creek [Dallas, Texas] in Highland Park again. So, he says--I said, "Well, what do you want." What, do you want an appointment or whatever. He said, "No," said, "I'm gonna leave it to you." He said, "You pick out me four paintings and bring them to me." And I said, "Well what price range?" He says, "Whatever you think." Now I'm really messed up because I don't wanna take him the most expensive paintings obviously and I don't wanna take him something that's gonna offend him. So I'm really messed up. And so all the time I'm sitting here thinking now how much, what should I do with this guy. I don't know, I really don't. So I put--I took some paintings that--these are my love things that I mean, I don't wanna sell. But here's an opportunity. So I took about two paintings for--from three thousand to five and then the highest one I took was seventeen thousand. Why not, it's seventeen thousand, that's what it's valued. And when I got there, he wrote me a check. He didn't say nothing. Just wrote me a check for those paintings. And he and I became friends, friends for years, years and years. I don't care where he go in the world, he calls me. But that was one thing that took my way up approximately thirty thousand dollars. And a--and a Lincoln Continental back then cost around eight or nine. So and you can get it loaded for everything. So, I'm just telling you how money, you know, money will buy a lot, thirty thousand dollars would buy a lot. In fact, that house over there that I was telling you that I couldn't buy, it was thirty-two thousand. But, anyway we was able to buy anything, we paid cash. We got plenty of cash, we just bought stuff. So that was my first big break.$Can you tell us now about the Multigolf [Multigolf Systems International] and how did you become an inventor, now you're an architect and artist and businessman (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Actually I've been wanting to invent all my life, ever since I was a kid. I said, if I invent one thing, I'm gonna just get rich. I would see--I didn't--you know, that's putting it a little before--cart before the horse. But I said, I'm gonna get rich if I--and so I used to write just all kinds of inventions. I got a whole file of things that I've invented. I invented this calendar and I said I'm gonna get rich with this thing because it's real unique. It's got pockets, it's just a big thing, it's got pockets and it's got dates and they're interchangeable, each. And so next month, all you do is interchange--just change the date, okay. And so you don't have to ever buy another calendar. You change the dates and you change the month. And this thing's got big pockets. Now these pockets are for, say for instance you want to mail a letter today and but you know that it's not due until three weeks from now or two weeks and you want your money to stay in your account. If you mail the check now they're gonna cash it, right. So what you do, you stick this letter in this slot when you're gonna mail it. So meanwhile four or five, ten days pass, you don't have to worry about it getting there late because it's sticking in this pouch, right. So when that time comes, you just take it out and you mail it. It gets there on time, your money stayed in the bank longer. So, this was a great calendar, I use it. I got one right now in front of my desk. I made this calendar, I went to get it--apply for a patent from one of these people, attorneys and things. And when they finished telling me how much money it was gonna cost me, I said, "No forget it, I'll just use it myself." So that's how I got involved with the patent things. And I did the--I went to play golf here about--it's been about ten years ago, maybe eight years ago. I was playing--I started playing golf 'cause I said, "I don't why anybody'd hit a ball and chase it for five hundred miles--for five hundred yards before they get to the green." So I didn't understand that. I didn't wanna play golf. But I started playing golf and when I got on the course, I had these new clubs and there was nothing to clean them up with 'cause I hit, you know, these golf course are moist, stay moisture--they keep moisture in the ground because what they do, they irrigate them all the time, they got to, to keep them pretty. So the grass is soft, and there's usually a little mud underneath the grass once you hit down. So I went to golf stores and I wanted to buy something to keep my clubs clean. Couldn't find a thing. So I had a patent search done by an attorney, nothing existed. So I then, that's when I went on through with my design. I designed this product that does ten things. Cleans balls, cleans clubs, cleans shoes, cleans grip, cleans hats, cleans--and provides water. So, this was a good product because all you do is take this product and you slide it on your golf bag. It's very small, does all these things. Not cumbersome, easy to install in just seconds. When you're finished, you just slide it off, put it in your golf bag, tighten it up and you got it. But then again, the functionality of it, you'd--you know, you need to know what it does, you know, all these ten things. But basically you need to clean your clubs. So everybody wants to clean their clubs. They pay--you pay eleven hundred dollars, eight hundred dollars for a set of golf clubs, you don't clean them, the dirt really grinds into the metal and wears your clubs out, wears on your clubs. So you need them clean. So, I designed this product that does all these things. So since I've done that, I got really seven--I got six patents, and I got seven or eight products that I've--two of them are not patented.$$Okay, now the golf product is called Multigolf, right?$$It's called the Multicaddie, yeah. The company that I established is called Multigolf Systems International and it looks like--it looks like this product should do really well on the market 'cause it--it's innovative, there's nothing like it and every golfer needs to clean. There's not a golfer that plays golf on earth that doesn't need to clean.