Photo Credit: Maite Jacobson

Photo Credit: Maite Jacobson


After leaving the north forests and farmland of Saskatchewan, I headed to Calgary and the Alberta College or art. After 4 years of hard work I came out confused and somewhat lost. Now what?

I’ve been a bouncer (1 week), I’ve been a radio switcher (1 night) I worked at the CBC (1 month) I was a stunt man (2 action movies that I never saw but I’m not alone in that) I’ve built houses, packed groceries, cut grass, I’ve written children’s books(4) I’ve illustrated children’s books (19) I have worked as an illustrator, a writer, a designer and a painter.

I’ve painted everything from diapers to strawberries, toilet paper to whiskey. I have lived a blessed life with friends and family, always there for me. I’ve never been hungry or without a roof. I was given a passion to create that has never left me, never wavered. I have never been bored. My biggest frustration is that there just isn’t enough time in a day to do all I want to do.

My practice continues to evolve. I explore the image as a form of communication. I work in a variety of mediums watercolour, graphite, and acrylics but primarily in oil.

Oil paint is so alive as a medium. It allows complete control as needed in my current series of works focused on narrative based hyper realistic still life paintings.

Hyperrealism is an offshoot of ‘realism’ akin to ‘photorealism’ however while I use photographs as reference I remove as much evidence of them as I can. Where a photorealist would use the out of focus detail I would not. Our eyes refocus so quickly we are unaware of burred backgrounds, unaware of depth of field. Hyperrealism attempts to mimic the way we actually see.

I use hyper realistic painting techniques to the arrest of the viewer to give them time to start a conversation with the work.

The painting is successful when it's meshes with a person’s life. If the buyer of the painting can tell a story about it as relates to him then the painting will live on. Sometimes the narrative that I envision for the painting is completely lost replaced by a more personal narrative.

 I look at the title of the painting is the first line of a good book. Within its words must be the first footsteps in to a new world. The stronger the story/painting the more the viewer can identify with its deeper threads and the more personal story becomes.

My work is time dependent. The more time I give it the better it is. That in itself is not a revelation, however if you consider how short our lives are, it becomes paramount. To spend days, weeks, years on a single painting basically pushing coloured mud around a wood surface to create the illusion of depth, and volume. How is it possible to justify such madness in the face of a practical finality? For me, painting is my personal revolution, the ultimate ‘I was here’ scratched on a bathroom stall.


Richard A Jacobson Signature