About Jon Van Zyle
Art is Jon’s life and Alaska, all Alaska, has been his inspiration. Artist Jon Van Zyle has seen more of Alaska in a much more unique way than most can ever hope to experience. Jon has twice completed the 1049 miles of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race between Anchorage and Nome. From these adventures he has created the yearly Iditarod poster series commemorating the race and his involvement. In 1979 he was made the official Iditarod artist, a title he still holds today. In 2004 he was inducted into the Iditarod Hall of Fame.
His acrylic paintings go beyond the race though, and encompass so much of the Alaska beauty. Jon's reputation as a storyteller through his art is further enhanced by his prints, posters and stone lithographs. Dog teams, landscapes, wildlife, Alaskan faces from native to newcomer, portray an intimacy with the land and it's people. He touches on history with studies of Alaskan pioneers and native traditions and lore recording the Alaskan spirit. Public acceptance of his shared feeling through his art has been his greatest reward.
Jon's art career has spanned over 3 decades. Prolific artist, he produces numerous paintings a year for one man exhibitions in the United States as well as Europe. Illustrating at least two children's books a year since 1993 for prestigious publishers has earned him a reputation with a younger audience as well as many awards for his children's art. His limited edition prints and posters sell out regularly with well over 300 editions in the last 30-plus years.
Jon and his wife Jona, also an artist, travel extensively, gathering material and experiences for their continuous production of works of art. The Van Zyle's live near Eagle River where they raise and train Siberian Huskies. Both inspirational and functional, the dogs play a large part in their lives together.
Honors include official Iditarod artist; invited artist National Art Exhibition of Alaskan Wildlife (Audubon Society) 1986 and 1987 and show judge in 1988; invited artist Alaska's Artists, Capital Rotunda in Washington D.C. 1983; invited artist Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington 1983, 1986, 1989 and 1994. Official artist Committee for Cooperation, Commerce and Peace, Alaska Siberia Friendship Flight #1, 1989. Artist of the year, Milwaukee Sports/Wildlife Show 1991. Invited artist to the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Bird in Art Show 1990. Organizer, race judge and official artist for Hope 91, first inter-continental international sled dog race from Nome, Alaska to Anadyr, Chukotka Region, USSR. Featured artist, Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show, Tacoma, Washington 1990, 1992 and 1997. Official artist International Federation of Sleddog Sports. 1999 Benjamin Franklin Award. Featured artist "Wild in de Natuur" Enschede, Holland 1999. Invited artist Deutsches Röntgen Museum, Remscheid, Germany 2001. 2004 Iditarod Hall of Fame.
2004 Jon and Jona first husband and wife team chosen as Artist-in Residence at Denali National Park & Preserve. 2004 Hans Thoma Museum, Germany. Biannual Switzerland and European exhibitions since 1995. 2006 mural project in the village of Ruby, Alaska for the Catholic Dioceses. 2006 Jon & Jona first husband and wife team chosen as artist in residence for Wrangll/St. Elias National Park and Preserve. 2006 American Bald Eagle Foundation artist of the year. 2008 Switzerland exhibition at Klondike’s Gallery Wildlife.
A book of his art and life The Best of Alaska, the Art of Jon Van Zyle was published in 1990 and reprinted through 1995. In 1998 Jon Van Zyle's Alaskan Sketchbook was published taking the reader through an artistic year of his life and has been reprinted many times. Iditarod Memories, a book celebrating his 25 years of official Iditarod posters, was published in 2001. In 2008 the book was updated, representing 30 years of Iditarod posters. A video was produced of his art career and family life by public television in 1991. Lenox Collections began producing collector items in 1991. A variety of other gift product, including Aloska Shirts, are produced by various firms for the national and international markets.
A few of the award winning children's books include The Eyes of Gray Wolf, Caribou Journey, Disappearing Lake, Raven and River, Lewis and Papa, River of Life, Gone Again Ptarmigan, and Arctic Lights Arctic Nights.