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From building a 1600 lb. race car to making miniatures seems an improbable leap for a craftsman.
The way it came about is the story of Jason’s career.
Jason is an artist and an artisan whose personal disciplines won’t let him be anything less
than very good at what he does. He is a maker of fine handcrafted miniatures in metal.
Because he works in limited editions, the variety of objects he makes is large. He brings to
his work a vast assortment of metalworking techniques mastered in a career which has taken
three sharp turns in direction. This career started with his making race cars and experimental
vehicles and proceeded through three phases, each of which involved a scaling down, a
narrowing of focus, and a refinement of his aesthetic acuity.
Starting as a kid in high school he made models of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and a
classic Greek Theater. As a young adult with an engineering business of his own he built two
race cars that raced in the Indianapolis 500. The cars, built in 1971 and 1972, were driven by
Swede Savage and Wally Dallenbach. They featured early examples of the airfoil wing now
common in race cars. From these projects he moved on to building experimental engines like
the Wankel engine. But he realized that fundamentally he was just applying his skills to the
execution of other people’s creations.
To relieve the creative pressure within himself he began to experiment in metal sculpture.
These works were mainly in bronze enhanced with glass enamel and derived their highly
stylized shapes from forms in nature, like trees. Finding his work well received, Jason sold
his business and devoted himself to sculpture full time. Along with his wife Jacqueline,
selling her fiber sculptures and Jason his bronze sculptures, they found a ready market for
their art work.
Sculptors are intensely concerned with scale. Jason thought deeply about perception,
objectivity, and the artist’s view of the world from the real place he occupies, somewhere
between the infinitely large and the infinitely small. He realized that distortions of natural
scale sharpen objectivity. All landscape painters are miniaturists! All sculptors who work in
mega scale are maximists! Truth can be enhanced in either direction. Jason’s instinct was to
scale down, and he then became a jeweler. Drawing once again on forms in nature for his
ideas, he produced highly sculptured pieces of jewelry with an Art Nouveau feeling which
were prized by buyers for their beauty and technical excellence.
This shift in career fine tuned Jason’s skills and introduced him to the world of art and craft.
Exhibiting in the Ann Arbor art fairs in Michigan and then organizing the first Birmingham,
Michigan "Art in the Park" in 1976 was very satisfying. This art fair continues to this day, as
one of the top 10 art fairs in the country.
When Jason discovered the world of miniatures in the summer of 1977, everything suddenly
came together for him. Here was a scale that in a mysterious way enhanced his
understanding and released his creative energy. Here was a market that prized
craftsmanship above all. Jacqueline Getzan, who thinks of herself as an apprentice to Jason,
was equally enthusiastic and together they threw themselves into their miniature work. In
the Fall of 1977 together they organized the First Ann Arbor Miniature Show. The great
success of the show encouraged them to move to a very large hotel in Troy, Michigan for the
Spring of 1978. They invited the very best miniature makers in the country and experienced
an incredible turnout of more than 3000 collectors over the three day affair. Encouraged by
the success of their promotions they continued to promote an annual Spring and Fall show.
Over the years, promoting the shows took too much time away from creating their miniatures,
so the last show they promoted was in the Fall of 2006. “Human contacts are very important to
us. We need the emotional feed-back we get from collectors when we deal with them
“The wonderful thing about the world of miniatures is that there seems to be room for
everybody at every level,” says Jason. “I love working in an area where the possibilities for
creation are limitless, I love the fact that my design integrity shows and people can look at a
piece and say ‘that must be by Jason.’