Mark Anthony Jacobson

One original Indigenous painting by Jacobson

Mark Anthony Jacobson also known as (“Pey-sim-away-apey-binasi”, which means “Rainbow Thunderbird” in the Ojibwe language) was born in 1972 at Sioux Lookout, Ontario. His father was of Swedish heritage and his mother was Ojibway with her family bloodline originating from Eabametoong First nation (Fort Hope Reservation) in Northern Ontario. When Mark would visit his grandmother on weekends, he was fascinated with a painting gifted to her by his dad. The painting consisted of a native hunter in a canoe preparing to use his bow to shoot a moose on the shore. Mark still remembers the painting and recalls that his interest in art began with it as he would sit in his grandmother’s kitchen drawing the painting on paper provided to him.

At the age of 13 Mark discovered The Art of Norval Morrisseau book and found it to be a source of inspiration . He recalls having torn the pages out of the book and taping them all over his apartment.Around this same time, Mark met a friend of his uncle named Rick Styles who ran an arts and leather craft outlet. Rick bought him his first set of acrylic paints and canvas as well as professional grade art paper. Equally important at this time was that the Children’s Aid encouraged Mark’s interest in art and arranged for a mentorship program with renowned Woodland artist Roy Thomas.

The time spent with Thomas was the catalyst for Mark’s journey as an artist. It was Thomas who taught Mark life lessons and technique as they sat together during pre-arranged sessions. Armed with knowledge and a passion for both his culture and Woodland art, Mark’s career was off to an auspicious start. He was armed with two important lessons from his time with Thomas: to focus on the technical skills of line work and to be original. The next few years were spent progressing as an artist and reinforcing those lessons till they became second nature.

Although Mark faced numerous personal struggles and battles he ultimately chose a new direction and focused his energies on the most stable and constant relationship he ever had; art. Another important relationship developed in 2005 which deeply impacted Mark. He held a joint exhibition with his hero – grandfather of the very art movement he was now a part of: Order of Canada recipient Norval Morrisseau. Mark still speaks warmly of this time. Mark fondly describes watching his hero examining his artworks and feeling a sense of accomplishment:

“There is nothing in this world like realizing your hero likes what you are doing. When I saw Norval’s eyes light up looking at my painting; I knew then that I had achieved the high standards Roy (Thomas) had told me to strive for. Nobody can ever take that moment away from me.”

Mark began to visit and socialize with Norval from then on but sadly Norval passed away two years later. While the time was short, Mark is content in knowing that he had two great artists, whom he admired, influence his life.

Nourishing his personal relationship with art over the last three decades has resulted in a reputation for excellence and originality. Mark developed unique forms and symbology for his works. His continued self-imposed demand for clean line work and paint application means a high level of technical skill has been honed to the level of mastery. Thematically, his works reflect the Ojibway cultural belief in the interconnected world of all beings, the transformative nature of reality, the power of Spirit inherent in that connectivity, the belief in the Creator and the healing power of colour and beauty.

Mark continues the daily struggle all artists experience and know. Because of his perseverance, unyielding and self-imposed artistic standards and commitment to the lessons learned from mentors and Elders: Mark has experienced tremendous growth as an artist. He is no longer the young man selling art door to door but rather an established artist with a well deserved reputation for technical skill and originality.

Mark is an award-winning author and widely collected artist. He was the first indigenous Canadian artist to develop a free online Catalogue Raisonné for collectors, researchers and academics. All this before he greets his 43rd birthday. In 2012, he received the American Moonbeam Award for his children’s book “Ojibway Clans- Animal Totems and Spirits.” The following year, Jacobson designed the poster for Aboriginal Awareness Week in Montreal.

Going forward, Mark’s career faces fewer headwinds. He is well established but still maturing. He anticipates moving forward with continued exhibitions, books and continued growth in his artwork. He has plans for substantial new projects, museum exhibitions and unique thematic studies in the context of Woodland art.

Considering how far Mark has progressed thus far at such a young age, it is clear his impact on Canadian art will be far beyond what he dreamed it would be when he first began selling his paintings door to door in Northern Ontario


1991: Art show, Taos square, Taos, New Mexico U.S.A.
2002: Art show at Longyear museum of Anthropology, Hamilton, New York, U.S.A.
2006: Art show with Vancouver Island artists Port Place, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
2006: Art show with Norval Morrisseau, Gallery of Giving, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
2006: Art show ” Transformations”, Greenery native art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2007: Art show “Our Sacred Environment”, Greenery native art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2008: Art Show “Eagles in the City”, House of the Spirit Bear Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2010: Opening art show for 2010 Indigenous Arts in action “Make it Real” with Norval Morrisseau, Gallery & Community Art Space, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2012: W2 Woodwards Indigenous winter market, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2012: All my Relations, Homecoming art show plus Book launch. A Frame gallery, Sioux Lookout Ontario, Canada
2018: Prima Materia Gallery, Nakusp, British Columbia, Canada

By this artist

No Results...

Sorry, there were no results found with these search parameters. Please reset and try again.