Alaska’s Artist Jon Van Zyle, by Jon Van Zyle
As a youth, Jon remembers his artistic mother encouraging him and his twin brother to express their creativity. It worked. Both Jon and his twin brother are professional artists: Jon in Alaska and his brother in Hawaii. His love of the outdoors lured Jon to Alaska and the entire 49th State has become his inspiration.
Jon Van Zyle chronicles his diverse life in his autobiographic Alaska’s Artist Jon Van Zyle: My Colorful Life of Art and Adventure (96 pages), sharing the adventures of his earliest paintings to his recent work.
As a painter and musher, Jon Van Zyle has immersed himself into Alaska’s rugged outdoors and community. Twice he ran the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and since 1979, he has been the race’s official artist. In 2004 he was inducted into the Iditarod Hall of Fame. Mushing, wildlife, fishing and the mystique of Alaska are favorite subjects of his and are featured in many of his works.
Jon and his wife Jona raise and train sled dogs at the home in Eagle River, Alaska. Their dogs are not only models for Van Zyle’s artistry: they are also working dogs that partner with him and Jona on their adventures in Alaska’s rugged wilderness.
In Alaska’s Artist Jon Van Zyle: My Colorful Life of Art and Adventure, the spirit of Alaska and the spirit of one of its most acclaimed artist become one. The adventure continues.
“Jon Van Zyle is the only artist in Alaska that buys paint in 55 gallon barrels. Earning the title of Alaska’s Artist is certainly befitting of his talent and passion for the untamed state. The versatility of his artwork and its reception by Alaskans and international art connoisseurs speaks for itself when trying to describe Jon’s uniquely famous position in the art world. Jon is prolific and impassioned with each gallery painting and in the illustrations of children’s books he depicts through his unique artist’s eye.”
–Dennis Corrington, Skagway Entrepreneur
“Jon Van Zyle’s art is a lasting gift to Alaska and the world. His realistic portraits of Alaska’s wildlife, landscapes and its people have captivated both young and old for decades. In addition to his incredible collection of gallery art, Jon has illustrated many award-winning books for children, such as Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights and the dog mushing classic, The Great Serum Race:Blazing the Iditarod Trail. For the past 20 years I’ve witnessed many young readers in schools be spellbound by Jon’s engaging illustrations of polar bears, caribou, moose, wolves, sled dogs, and countless other animals. His artwork not only reflects the beauty and magnificence of Alaska, it inspires many young minds to learn more about the wonders of the Far North and to become artists themselves. Jon’s art legacy is one of Alaska’s greatest treasures.”
–Debbie Miller, Award Winning Author
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