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LSU Alumus Jack Jaubert Finds Inspiration in Action

Like a tiger with nine lives, LSU alumnus Jack Jaubert has been a football player, sport parachutist, military paratrooper, oil field worker, artist, and ballroom dancer among other things. If you ask him what he does for a living, however, he will tell you that, like all of us, he is a salesperson – selling his art, his knowledge, and himself. With Jaubert, though, it is a soft sell, fueled by his down-to-earth charisma and even-tempered personality.

To LSU football fans, Jaubert’s artwork is likely recognizable. He was commissioned to paint LSU’s All-American football players in a series of portraits that are on display in the Lawton Room at Tiger Stadium and was recently asked to create a painting for the Forever LSU campaign.

Getting Centered

Jaubert’s artistic visions of the University began when he was a student in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“When I was at LSU I did a lot of painting, drawing, and sketching,” he said.

A self-taught painter, Jaubert perceived his artistic inclinations as more of a hobby than a potential profession. His artistic ability was recognized early by teachers and nourished by his parents. Jaubert enjoyed drawing and painting action scenes most of all, so it is no wonder he wanted to be in the middle of the action at LSU. As a first-string center on the football team, Jaubert had plenty of playing time and went to multiple bowl games.

Having a father who attended LSU, Jaubert grew up around the iconography of LSU football and had periodic family visits to the campus. When he took his place on the field, he gained his own perspective.

“I think that a player sees things differently from a fan,” said Jaubert. “I used to always say that players remember practices and fans remember games. There are so many more practices than there are games. But it also is very thrilling when there is success and we were able to provide some big wins that were a joy.”

To some, it may seem incongruous that a football player with the brawn of an offensive lineman can find within himself a talent that involves sensitivity. Jaubert’s response?

“I was an artist before I started playing football.”

If anything, his love of athletics has been a consistent inspiration for his artwork.

Jaubert is not interested in conforming to a stereotype. He believes the creativity of each individual manifests itself in different ways.

“Painting is just one form of creativity,” he said. “Some of my former teammates who are doctors and dentists, they have to be creative oftentimes in what they do.”

Jaubert counts many of his former teammates as cherished friends and says the relationships he developed while playing for LSU are what he remembers most.

“Wearing the purple and gold is a bond that we’ll always have,” said Jaubert.

A Portrait of the Artist

After graduating in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree, Jaubert was asked to create portraits of senior players for weekly football programs – a task he did happily for three years. Though he planned on a military career, cutbacks after Vietnam led him to a job in the petroleum industry, which was booming at the time.

“I was working on the rigs, and I got the opportunity to get into a technical field of oil field services and then I got into sales,” said Jaubert. “So, I went to London in a sales position with the company. I had an interesting territory: parts of West Africa, parts of Europe, Scandinavia, and the British Isles. I was there for five years. I only moved back here when the oil field pretty much collapsed globally in the late ‘80s.”

When Jaubert returned to Baton Rouge, he contacted an old college friend. During their telephone conversation, Jaubert was asked whether he was still painting LSU artwork. When the answer was no, the disappointed friend urged Jaubert to do some LSU-themed paintings. From there, Jaubert was inspired to create The Men of Purple and Gold, an oil painting that depicted legendary players of LSU football. Acting on another suggestion, Jaubert created prints to sell.

“It was slow, but, eventually, it was just something that started selling,” said Jaubert.

New work comes mostly by word of mouth, Jaubert said. He has been commissioned to paint murals or large paintings for the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and several schools in the region, including Jesuit High School in New Orleans and Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, along with work for individual patrons.

“I’ve had some very gratifying projects,” said Jaubert. “I tend to incorporate my love of doing portraits with most of my projects.”

Creating portraits and painting the human form is Jaubert’s passion.

“I’ve always admired portrait artists. When you see a portrait, you just have a feeling,” Jaubert explained. “You feel like you understand that person [in the painting]. The person sort of comes alive.”

From Gridiron to Ballroom

Though his football days are gone, Jaubert has found something that gives him that game-day feeling – competitive ballroom dancing. Becoming a dancer was the result of a challenge posed to Jaubert by a friend. He took on the challenge and ended up enjoying it.

“I started and realized it was a good physical activity,” said Jaubert. “It’s a lot harder than I expected … a lot more difficult. I find, interestingly, that ballroom dancing is as challenging as any sport I’ve been involved in.”

Jaubert competes at events around the country with his wife and dance partner, Suzanne. On occasion, when they are waiting their turn to perform, he feels the familiar exhilaration of hitting the field for an LSU football game.

“It’s interesting. I get very emotional during these competitions. And I was telling Suzanne, I get into a zone and, when things work, it’s exciting. It’s like game day,” said Jaubert. “It’s a team. It’s us against them.”

According to Suzanne, Jack is talented and disciplined on the dance floor.

“I think that comes a lot from having been an athlete,” she said. “He understands that you need coaching. It’s not just a spontaneous activity. It’s something you have to work at.”

The Jauberts practice on the LSU student recreational center’s basketball court, as well as some of the other rooms there.

“We try not to chase out folks with our music,” said Jaubert.

Back to School

For the Jauberts, living close to the University has its perks.

“We’re really blessed to be in a university environment because a university provides a lot to a community,” said Jaubert. “Baton Rouge is a better place because LSU is here.”

Being a part of the LSU community also inspires Jaubert to give back. During his recent term as president of the Capital Area Tigers (the Baton Rouge chapter of the Tiger Athletic Foundation), members decided to endow a Foundation of Champions scholarship. They chose to name the scholarship after Collis Temple, Jr., LSU’s first African American basketball player.

“To me, it was just such a good fit when you consider that you are looking for someone who made a positive impact on LSU sports, LSU as a university, and the community, ” said Jaubert. “So we feel very good about that.”

As for his own mentors, Jaubert holds his parents above all others.

“The older you get, the more you realize what your parents did for you,” he said. “I’ll always treasure everything. I’ve had so many coaches and mentors, but everything else probably pales in comparison.”

When he is in need of a muse, Jaubert simply examines the world around him.

“There’s inspiration in everything,” he said.

That means his creative well is not likely to dry up any time soon.

Tamara Mizell | LSU Office of Public Affairs
Fall 2007

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