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
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
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.
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.
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
official 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. Proud member of the Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo number one, Nome, Alaska.
Jon & Jona
at Denali Park
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. 2005 exhibition in Switzerland.
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 Wrangle/St.
Elias National Park and Preserve. 2006 American Bald Eagle
Foundation artist of the year. 2008 Switzerland exhibition.
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
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 Pappa, River of Life, Gone
Again Ptarmigan, and Arctic Lights Arctic Nights.
Jona Van Zyle Although
born in Ohio, Jona Van Zyle has always been an Alaskan at
heart, and a full time resident since 1998. Her longtime
love of wildlife and sled dogs has greatly influenced all
the facets of her art life.
Jona was the assistant curator of the Balto Sled Dog exhibit
at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio. Cleveland
is the home of Balto, the lead dog from the last relay team
of the 1925 Serum Run. She continued that work with the
Anchorage Museum of History and Art for several years.
over 30 years experience working with huskies, she has
written and illustrated many articles about dog history
and training for such publications as Mushing Magazine.
background includes studies at Kent State University,
The Cleveland Institute of Art, and a year in Arizona
apprenticed to architect Paolo Soleri.
include ceramics, metal casting, and graphic design. Jona's
many years working as a sailmaker in Ohio and New York
designing and sewing large custom spinnaker sails honed
her sewing interest and skills.
Jona's textile works were exhibited in Alaska's prestigious
Earth, Fire and Fiber competition. Her Dog Trainers' Jacket
and Mukluks won juror's award and toured the state.
design was chosen as the 2000, 65th Anniversary, Anchorage
Fur Rendezvous logo. She has been designing the Junior
Iditarod's fundraising annual Birchwood buttons since
1999, and continues to do so.
both Jon and Jona had a joint exhibition in Stafa, Switzerland
and were the invited artist at the Deutschess RÖntgen
Museum in Remscheid, Germany.
and Jona were invited participants in Anchorage's inaugural
Wild Salmon on Parade, as well as a joint exhibition in
a big year. Jona designed the 2004 Official Iditarod Race
Cachet Envelope carried by each musher from Anchorage
to Nome. Also, Jona and Jon were the first husband and
wife team chosen as artist-in residence at Denali national
Park and Preserve.
and Jon returned to Switerland for joint exhibitions in
Ruti and Chur during the month of October.
Jona mentored Girl Scout Troop 771 with their mural project
for camp Togowoods. She and Jon completed mural projects
for the Athabascan village of Ruby and were the artist-in-residence
at the Wrangell/St. Elias National park and Preserve.
a busy year, Jona completed a coloring/field notes children's
book for Wrangell/St. Elias Park and Preserve. She was
also chosen to create an ornament for the White House
Christmas tree. She and Jon attended the premier White
House Christmas party as guests of the First Lady. Jona
continues to enjoy beading and working with salmon skin
and smoke-tanned moosehide creating unique necklaces, clothing
and containers that carry the Alaskan spirit and mistique.
updated her sold out Iditarod Memories for reprinting.
It was also an exhibition year in Switzerland with a 6
week show in Stäfa. Mid May through September is
busily filled with hosting tour groups to their home.