I was born in 1924 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands and grew up in a strict business environment in which there was no place the arts and yet my main interest was poetry and painting.
During the 1940 Nazi invasion of Holland, my passage into manhood was sudden and shocking. Our conviction was that this was a war of good against evil and in the end good would triumph. Peace would be a world where the fundamental of all laws would prevail, namely: "to love they neighbour as thyself."
After the liberation of 1945, there was no time for grieving in the effort to adjust to a normal life. In 1952, I immigrated to Western Canada. Shortly after my arrival in Canada I was plagued by "flash-backs" from the war experience, but art became my healer and I painted in all the spare time I could find.
During the 50s, I had difficulty connecting with the art climate of North America. In my opinion much of the philosophy in the arts was based on intellectualizing a concept rather than that which was authentic. Driven by a need to bring a life of strife and conflict to an aesthetic conclusion, I started to study and work in isolation away from artists and art centres.
During the 60's my work was mostly figurative, evolving from the need to be human. January 1973 a collection of my work entitled "essere umano" was exhibited in Toronto.
In 1976 I move to Nova Scotia and since that time I worked in an environment of sea and wilderness living on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.
From my isolated place and from viewing the world I concluded that humanity had not learned much from the past. We are now overcome by a junk-culture entertaining us with vice, violence and killings, and the authentic is replaced by fantasy lands and theme parks. In my work people started to dissolve into landscapes and finally in 1983 they literally fell off my canvas. The prime nourishment for my soul became my natural surroundings, resonating the love its Creator - the Light from the timeless and spaceless, which is the standard and origin of what is authentic and aesthetic.
I have supported a family and raised 5 children whole compulsively painting. I produced a large body of work, reflecting not only the times I lived in but also the development and maturing growth of a soul.
Canada Creek, September 1997
Jack S. Vander Wal
1924: Born in Holland
1940 - 1945: German Occupation of Holland. Quit school and joined the dutch "underground resistance"... became fugitive from Gestapo until end of war.
1952: Immigrated to Canada
1955: Worked in studio in Central Alberta
1970-1975: Grant to lecture on the motivation of art. "We are the product of our environment"
1976: Moved to Nova Scotia to work in own studio full time.
1977: Lecture tour through Nova Scotia, "The art and the Artist"
To present: Work and live on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.