Jack Shadbolt

About the Artist

Jack Shadbolt was born in England in 1909, but his parents emigrated to British Columbia when he was young, eventually settling in Victoria.

From an early age, Shadbolt knew he wanted to be an artist. When he was 16 he met West Coast artist Emily Carr for the first time. “I was dumbstruck with admiration,” Shadbolt later said. Carr’s images of West Coast  First NationsFirst Nations is a contemporary term referring to the Indian peoples of Canada, both status and non-status (definition from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). To find out more about Canada’s First Nations, go to: Assembly of First Nations: http://www.afn.ca/ Village of First Nations: http://www.firstnations.com/ Canada’s First Nations: http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/firstnations/ Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Nations   symbols eventually led to his own exploration of Aboriginal images, one of the recurring themes of his later work.

After studying at Victoria College and the Normal School, which was a teacher training college, Shadbolt taught at the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) for 28 years, where he educated himself about various modes of painting. Near the end of World War II he also served in London, England as acting administrative officer for the Canadian Army War Artists Program. Sorting through photographs of concentration camps as part of his job, and then roaming around London, looking at what he called the “abstractions of buildings that were taken apart by bombs” profoundly affected him. Devastation and loss became part of his artistic vocabulary, echoing the scenes of abandoned and ruined  First NationsFirst Nations is a contemporary term referring to the Indian peoples of Canada, both status and non-status (definition from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). To find out more about Canada’s First Nations, go to: Assembly of First Nations: http://www.afn.ca/ Village of First Nations: http://www.firstnations.com/ Canada’s First Nations: http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/firstnations/ Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Nations   villages he had seen in Emily Carr’s work.

Over a career spanning more than 60 years he experimented with a variety of styles and subjects, creating prints, watercolours and paintings using mixed media. He also wrote three books on art and was an influential artist and teacher across Canada and the United States, as well as the first artist to lead a workshop at the Emma Lake Artists' Workshops, in 1955. Shadbolt was a prolific artist, who continued to paint until his death in 1998.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning