Jack Linou: The Art of an Outsider

A Remembrance for Jack           World AIDS Day 1 December 2021

The book explores the creative portraiture of a life lived through the extremes of drug use, HIV and depression. Jack Linou had an uncontrollable self-destructive energy and expressed these feelings through his art.

Over a period of twelve years, Jack made an amazing array of artwork, which is illustrated in the book.  He found ways to overcome his struggle through arts practice and the book highlights his exceptional artwork, which is supported by short stories and theoretical inquires about art and addiction.

The book was produced during the 2020 COVID lockdown and it's dedicated to my younger brother Jack Linou, who  died at the age of 33 in 1997, and struggled with drug addiction, depression and living with HIV /AIDS.  This book also provides a platform that continues the awareness of  HIV / AIDS.

Jack died at the age of 33 at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1997 from a long-term battle with HIV. Yet over a period of twelve years, he found ways to overcome his complex struggle with addiction and the imprisonment of a terminal illness through his creative outlets of surrealist painting, poetry and comedy.

The book is shaped into seven chapters beginning with Jack's poems, and includes short stories by family and friends. These are aligned with theoretical concepts of psychology and aesthetics, discussing how creative practices can heal and transform. In a way this book could be seen as a guide to creative recovery.

This book is not intended to be a biography of Jack's life, but an insight into the thoughts and artworks that helped him cope with the challenges of depression caused by addiction and illness, and his art is evident of a man whose core intent was to inspire others with creativity.

Life is filled with contradictions, cause and effect, flux and change, and escaping through addiction is human nature. We all have addictions, whether it's to alcohol, tobacco, food or drugs. The trap of addiction and illness did not block Jack's artistic life; like so many artists before him he used drugs to seek knowledge of himself through altered states. Jack immersed himself in the surreal as a way of escaping from the real and searching for answers to his dilemmas’  His addiction was a removal from reality, a shield from the pressures of the real world. He knew his life was going to be shortened and so he dedicated hours to creating colourful eye-catching art.

Jack's art and his legacy unfolds through these pages as a way of embracing and remembering the creativity force that was Jack Linou, and this book amplifies the necessity for lasting tributes to those who are gone but will never be forgotten.


"I am not a realist painter due to the reason that I live with realism everyday. Surrealism is the core of my imagination"
Jack Linou. 1993

Hard cover: 22 x 22cm, 120 pages, full colour on gloss paper.

ISBN: 978-0-6451269-0-7  


 .... Testimonials from people appearing in the book ....


"I like an artist who is unique and stands out with a their own style and Jack was a unique artist. You knew it was a Jack work straight away"


Alexi Alexi


"His incredible drive to create and express himself led to the huge artistic output he amassed over a relatively short time."


Hans Kreiner

"I didn't quite comprehend the gravity of his struggles living with addiction and HIV."

Connie Sgardelis


 "A good and bad thing came out of Jack having HIV. It gave him an opportunity to become an artist, but the virus killed him."

George Linou

"Jack showed me another part of life, and I proudly have his art work hanging on the walls in my home."

Steve Linou


"He pursued his own uniqueness by sneaking across the borderline of convention"

Janet Williams











Tribute ...

The following film is a documentary made by Jack's nephew, Alex Linou.
Alex has created a snapshot that highlights Jack and the making of the book.

A Brother's Legacy: by Alex Linou                                                               Running Time: 4min


Jack diligently applied himself to learn about a range of arts practices from a self – tutoring process. He was a naïve self-taught artist working outside of the normal realm of visual arts.


His work is exciting, unique and has a quality that distinctly separates him from the general field of artists, as he followed his own intuitive response to recording his experiences through illustrations, poetry and performance.

Sadly my brother Jack was a drug user and contracted the virus through a shared syringe. Jack in those days and other drug users were consider a low priority.
Hence why its crucial to reminding people that amongst the thousands of numbers and statistics of death, that a pandemic creates  and of  the many ripples of sorrow that a single virus  can affect many families and friends.
The book is a symbol of remembrance and this commemoration is woven into pages that celebrate the art of Jack Linou. For more about Jack's other works, please see the website dedicated to his arts practice.

art and culture