Art is Jon Van Zyle’s life, and Alaska has been his inspiration. Van Zyle has seen more of Alaska than most can ever hope to experience. He has twice completed the 1,094 miles of the Iditarod Trail in the yearly sled dog race between Anchorage and Nome. 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.
Jon’s art career has spanned over thirty years. As a 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.
Van Zyle studied art in Colorado. Born in the Midwest, he lived in the East, the Northwest and Hawaii before making Alaska his home in 1971. Van Zyle and his wife travel Alaska extensively, gathering material and experiences for new works of art. They now live near Eagle River, Alaska where they maintain a dog team of registered Siberian Huskies. Both inspirational and functional, the dogs play a large part in Jon’s work, as does the secluded atmosphere of the woods surrounding his studio and home.
Here is a sampling of Town Square Art Gallery’s selection of Jon Van Zyle Iditarod artwork: