LONGMONT, Colo. — Android Jones is a renowned artist based in Boulder County who's work has been projected onto places like the Sydney Opera House. On Jan. 18, Jones' two-story barn that served as an art studio was demolished by a fire and two decades of his work was destroyed.
Jones said the fire engulfed the barn early Wednesday morning. He took videos that show the fire pouring out of every window and door of the structure.
“It was probably some of the most helpless I've felt before," Jones recalled. "The first day, [there was] a lot of shock, anger, depression.”
The barn stored all of Jones' artwork, tools, electronics, and everything he used to support his family.
“I had a piece upstairs that was in the Smithsonian that I was planning on my kids inheriting," Jones said. “The best of the best was here, and when it burned, I felt like part of me died... A lot of ego death, because as an artist, this was decades of my energy focused on these things that I wanted to outlive me.”
Jones said his father, Rick, built the barn on the property where Jones was born and raised. It was first built in 1975, and the barn burned down in 2008. Jones' father rebuilt it.
“He passed away in 2013, and I came here and when he passed, and I kind of took over the space," said Jones. “A lot of his things, a lot of my things, were kind of mingled together.”
As the days have gone on, Jones has started looking at the fire through a lens of different lessons.
“When your greatest fear happens, I don't have to carry that fear anymore. I can carry the scar of it happening, which is easier than carrying the fear of it," Jones explained. “Fire is a way of releasing things. So I do like to think, when I see the smoldering smoke or I think of my breath, I do think that everything that we do is in some way, shape, or form, different stages of attachment and release. You know, nothing's forever.”
Jones decided the only way to move forward was to surrender to what happened. He said he is never one who asks for help, but was forced to after the fire.
“Even though I'm just surrounded by the smoldering toxic ashes of my dreams, I feel hope," Jones said, after receiving immense support from friends, the community, and total strangers. “I really had no idea how much people cared about us.”
An online fundraiser has already raised thousands of dollars to help Jones during this time.
"I believe in myself more than I ever have, now that I know how many people out there care about what we do here. And so that's, that's priceless," said Jones. “We can recover from this and we can build something better than we had before, that can benefit more people and can give me a new way of showing my gratitude and my love and appreciation for all the people that believed in me.”
Jones said the part of him that was afraid of being vulnerable has been left in the ashes.
Ashes he looks at through a different lense now, too.
“I was planning on kind of transitioning into being a metal sculptor," Jones said, considering the damage as potential future artwork. "So, I think there's going to be a lot of cool metal pieces we can salvage out of here.”
The GoFundMe raised more than $200,000 in the first two days it was posted. The goal is $250,000.
As of Sunday night, Jones said the cause of the fire has not been determined. He adds inspectors will be coming to look at the damage on Tuesday.