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Julian Lennon Breathes Life Into Words and Pictures

Sailun Tires

Julian Lennon has delved into a wide array of artistic pursuits over the last four decades.

His first foray, was the 1984 album Valotte, with the hit single “Too Late for Goodbyes.” Since that time the eldest son of former Beatle John Lennon has continued to be a versatile artist, a committed humanitarian, and a visionary whose creative efforts cross various domains.

Lennon is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, a talented photographer, a documentary filmmaker, and a New York Times bestselling author of children’s literature. He executively produced the documentary “Common Ground” and its predecessor “Kiss The Ground,” both focusing on groundbreaking environmental conservation methods. Narrated by celebrities such as Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, and Woody Harrelson, these films reached over a billion viewers and motivated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allocate $20 billion toward soil health initiatives.

Photo by Joseph Spence

Central to his efforts is his dedication to philanthropy through the White Feather Foundation. Driven by his passion for environmental protection and social justice, Julian actively works to create positive global change, including initiatives like constructing more water wells in Uganda.

His solo photography exhibition, “Wake Up and Dream,” is currently on display at the Saint Joseph’s Arts Foundation in San Francisco until September. He recently showcased his work at the Trowbridge Gallery in London and is scheduled for an exhibition at Marsilio Arte in Venice.

Photo by Marilyn Clark

Lennon is poised to captivate audiences again with the re-release of some of his popular music. This Fall he is also launching a coffee table photo book, Life’s Fragile Moments, inviting readers to explore visual stories that highlight his iconic work. Additionally, Julian has a memoir in the works, that diverges from traditional formats. Swagger spoke to Lennon over Zoom lately, discussing his various upcoming projects.

You released the album Jude in 2022, but some of the songs are being re-released – can you talk about that?

I fell in love with this whole style called Lo Fi. I did videos for some songs. And I keep doing them every couple of months. But I really liked the process of stripping down some pretty serious songs and production, down to this kind of the secret value of daydreaming; the sort of calm, ethereal approach to listening to music. 

It’s something I’m going to play with in the future as well. I’ve already moved on to working on other materials. A lot of stuff that was in the bunker, because half of the material for Jude were ideas and demos from 30 years ago, and I still have a ton of tapes and all demos from then. They need a home, a place to go.

I won’t do another album. Again, I don’t see that happening, especially with a label. I thought I’d learned my lesson previously. But I learned my lesson again, that that was not the best choice. They were very convincing. But c’est la vie. So independent, is the only way forward on every level. I’ll be just releasing kind of the odd single here or there, or the old mixes, and a few EPS every now and then. 

I want to have fun with it and remember what it was all about in the first place. 

Photo by Robert Ascroft

Tell me about the new photography book?

I’ve got over 120,000 professional shots now, that I didn’t even know I had. I’ve done 41 exhibitions around the world already. Which I was quite surprised about. I mean, that’s a lot for a newbie. But certainly having the opportunity to do this photography book has been been a whirlwind, without question, a lot of hard work.

It launches in Europe at the end of August, which is when I have probably the biggest exhibitions, if not the most important exhibitions I’ve ever done, which is at the International Center of Photography in Venice

I’m looking at it as being a retrospective of my work, too, because a lot of people don’t know I’m a photographer. The first one was in 2010 at the old CBGBs which had become the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York. I thought I was going to be slaughtered. You know, I really did. But I’ve had some of the best reviews I’ve ever had 

Photo by Marilyn Clark

I couldn’t help but notice the wall behind you, filled with papers and pictures. 

It’s a Wall of Remembrance, or reminders on so many levels of who, what, when, where and how people in places. It reminds reminds me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. So, little notes from my mom, that have become truly important since she passed. Times and places and people and memories. The wall should be 10 times as big to be honest with you. Every everything is crammed on here.

Is there a book to accompany the wall?

Well, I’m working on my memoir right now. So there will be elements, no question – sets of notes and pictures that were quite personal, and dealt with relationships and mostly Mum.

Where are you at with the memoir?

I’m relatively in the early days. I’ve got to do it in the next couple of months. And the only distraction is actually the exhibition. I also have a whole concept to do with the book, as it’s not going to be your run of the mill memoir, your A to B: I was born, I did this, and then that, and these and these people hurt me, and I hate these people. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to give the people I don’t like the time of day. 

I don’t want to bring up any dirt about anybody. Not what this is about. The book for me, is very much the weird life that I’ve had. I wanted something far more creative and entertaining. 

Photo by Marilyn Clark

Sounds like there are many projects going on!

I like to wear many hats. I mean, at times, it can get a bit too much. I have been trying to breathe a little more these days. So after this year, relatively calm. Still a couple of good projects, no question about that. But trying to realize that I am allowed to take a break once in a while. That’s my problem. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I wake up and the first thing I do is sit in front of the computer and go ‘okay, what are we doing today?’ 

To learn more about Julian Lennon, follow him on Instagram, and check out his official website.

For more information on “Common Ground” and its upcoming theatrical releases, visit its official website.


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