In the shadow of the mountain, there is the village of Klukshu where a boy of seven summers watched his grandfather carve. Born in a time of transition, Jack Fred Jackson was strongly influenced by time spent with his grandfather, both on the land and in the home.
It was that summer of his seventh year that Jackson started to draw the world around him, finding form in the animals and creatures of the bush. As Jackson grew up and moved through life, the sketch book was always there, bringing comfort and the ability to produce an income, something any teenager wrestles with as he grows up. Jackson never stopped drawing and, at the age of 16, branched out into other mediums and styles.
Through different courses at Yukon College, Jackson was exposed to many forms and styles. Finding a love in etching, Jackson became involved in many commercial projects and found he could make a living with the skills he had developed and enjoyed. Like so many youth, Jackson moved out of art at 18 and tried his hand at many different occupations, but none of them seemed to fit him or make him happy. Jackson was 22 when he heeded his heart and returned to the world of both aboriginal and commercial art.
When pressed about his aboriginal heritage, Jackson identifies himself as Southern Tutchone but admits he is still uncomfortable with that label, but then he is uncomfortable with any label. Flipping through his portfolio, one can see the youthful styles mature as he began to explore his abilities. Most of the work presented were commissions that range stylistically display heritage with their strong primary colours and symbols.
Traditional art may be all fine, but Jackson’s current passion is commercial graphic arts. Employed by a local graphics company, Jackson has designed and built many of the visual aids used by some of Whitehorse’s corporate clients. The glow reflected in Jackson’s eyes comes from the computer screen these days — not the campfire — but the same skills learned so long ago in the shadow of the mountains can been seen in the banners and symbols in today’s world. The aboriginal influence is a strength Jackson brings to the images he produces.
Life has never been easy for Jackson and he gives back to the youth of today by working at the Blue Feather Youth Society as an employee of the Youth of Today Centre and teaching and working in the graphics shop.
The ability to earn a living within his passion of art has given a life to Jackson that he never expected and now Jackson has the ability to dream within his passion.