Art show fulfills dream: Jack Lane says he's drug-free and on his way up

photo Jack Lane overcame drug addiction and homelessness and has turned back to producing paintings and drawings. He will host his own art show at the Trade Center in June.

IF YOU GOWhat: Art showWhen: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 15 and noon to 6 p.m. June 16.Where: Chattanooga Convention CenterAdmission: Free

A 10-year drug addiction left Jack Lane homeless, but the 68-year-old Chattanooga man managed to hold onto his dream. After being drug-free for eight years, Lane will host his first art show at the Chattanooga Convention Center in June.

The art show, titled Jack Lane Unlimited, will showcase at least 25 pictures, among them landscapes, portraits and abstracts. Some are drawn with India ink, others with acrylic and some with a No. 2 pencil, such as his sketch of President Barack Obama.

"I can't do nothing but go up," Lane said.

Denyce Carlock, manager of Consider the Lilies Thrift Store where Carlock volunteers, has bought three of his paintings.

"He has a great eye for detail," she said. "He's good at anything."

Lots of Chattanooga residents saw Lane's artwork in the 1980s when Lake Winnepesaukah used his drawing of Ray Charles as a backdrop on the stage when the singer performed there.

Carlock said she saw Lane's potential and hired him to work in Chattanooga Community Kitchen's thrift store -- even though she knew he was on drugs.

"What I tell drug addicts is one day you may quit for six months. One day for three months, but one of these days, with God's help, you will be drug-free," she said.

Lane said he started using cocaine in the mid-1990s but quit for good in 2005.

Now instead of working at the thrift store, he volunteers to show gratitude for the help Carlock has given him, he said.

He works out of his one-bedroom apartment at Dogwood Manor. His kitchen counter is his work surface. His living room is his gallery.

While in junior high school he went to work with his father, the late Robert Lane, at the Little Art Shop, now called Art Creations, on Frazier Avenue. He watched his father make picture frames and learned the skill.

Painting and drawing are a God-given gift, he said.

He graduated with an associate degree in advertising art from Chattanooga State Community College and was offered a scholarship to the Art Institute of Memphis but he didn't take it. Instead he stayed in Chattanooga, bought a home with his girlfriend, got bored and eventually became entangled with the wrong crowd.

He was older than 40 before he started using cocaine. His 10-year drug habit cost him plenty -- his relationship and his home.

He has new goals now -- have a quality art show, open his own gallery and meet the president to give him his portrait.

"I got the talent," Lane said. "I got to put it out there."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at or 423-757-6431.