JACK UNRUH EXHIBIT AT ESD
You are invited to view
Magic: The Illustrations of Jack Unruh
October 18 - December 3
Exhibit open to the public Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Jennifer and John Eagle Gallery
ESD's Merrell Road Campus
Questions? Please contact Vikki Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Unruh, Illustrator
1935 – 2016
Jack Unruh was born on a farm in Pretty Prairie, Kansas. His father was in the Army Air Corps Reserve and the year after Jack's birth, his father was called into active duty in Panama. World War II began when Unruh was 6 years old and that year the family moved 4 times. It was during this childhood time he would lie in front of the radio, listening to The Lone Ranger and Captain Marvel stories and draw pictures of what he heard. He was like all children; he drew pictures. He just never stopped. After the war, he and his family moved to Utah where he developed a passion for fly-fishing.
When it came time for Unruh to decide what he wanted to do for a living, his father suggested that he make a living by drawing and make fishing a hobby. He took his father's advice and enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis, where he majored in Magazine Illustration, graduating in1958. He moved to Dallas, Texas of that year and began his illustration career. He started out trying to be a painter using gouache, then acrylics and finally realized he was naturally, a linear artist. For several years he worked in black ink only. Eventually, he started adding small areas of color to his work.
Unruh believed that one’s art reflects their interests and the world around them. Since he started hunting and fishing when he was a young boy and developed an interest in life sciences in high school, it seemed only natural that his love of nature and outdoor sports would merge with his love of drawing pictures and become a part of his illustration career. He liked to draw in little surprises too. As in nature many things just showed up in Unruh’s illustrations. "Things are always there, but it takes a while to see them." This was the way he wanted his art to be, that the longer one looked at his work, the more they would see.
As an illustrator, Jack crawled through caves in Europe to research Paleolithic man, flew in helicopters and slept in cars to view, first-hand, the effects of the Valdez oil spill, both for National Geographic. He floated remote rivers in Alaska and Chile for fishing and hunting magazines. For his corporate work, he toured research labs, refineries, deserts, cold rooms, mountaintops, and visited every major brewery in Mexico.
His pen and ink watercolor technique ranged from an imaginative conceptual style to a realistic interpretive one. The realistic style with a nature emphasis was featured in Japan’s A&F catalog and with his other nature and sports-related clients, National Geographic; Sports Afield; Field and Stream; Garden and Gun; Sports Illustrated; Scientific American; Condé Nast Traveler; Phoenix Zoo; Bronx Zoo (Congo Rain Forest Exhibit); St Louis Zoo; Organic Gardening; Sage Rods; Leatherman Tools; Remington Firearms; Eddie Bauer; Winston Rods; Temple Fork Outfitters; Ducks Unlimited; Trout Unlimited; The Nature Conservancy.
Unruh was published in practically every popular magazine and his work appeared in ads and annual reports for major corporations. He illustrated the Texanist column of Texas Monthly Magazine from 2007-2016. Unruh is listed in the New York Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame, a hallowed fraternity of master pictorial storytellers with such legendaries as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth.
It takes only a few moments of wandering through his portfolio (jackunruh.com) to notice the affection he had for drawing nature and its inhabitants. Through his easy laugh, Jack would say, "Drawing is like having a magic wand!”
He made enchanting, spellbound images for nearly 60 years.