Ted Harrison - Wingate Art Education Bursary

Ted Harrison is one of Canada's most popular and beloved artists whose love of the land and people of the Yukon has brought him national acclaim. His distinctive painting style is colourful and sophisticated yet retains an innocent charm. He is also an internationally recognized author and illustrator of children's books, and has spent much of his career teaching art to children of all ages.

Edward Hardy Harrison was born August 28th, 1926 with his twin sister Algar in the village of Wingate in County Durham, England. His father was a coal miner and his mother a "miner's wife." Ted attributes his early interest in art and design to encouragement from his parents, particularly his mother who had an interest in fashion design and photography. As a youngster, he spent many idle hours drawing and his fondest memory was illustrating a book of MG motor cars at the age of 12. His talents were also recognized by grammar school teachers who encouraged him to further pursue his talents at art college.

In 1943 he enrolled in the West Hartlepool College of Art and began to study art and design in earnest, but like other young men at the time, his education was interrupted by the Second World War. Following military service, he returned to art school and in 1950, received a Diploma of Design. The following year he received a teaching certificate from the University of Durham and began a twenty-eight year career in Education. He taught school in England, Malaysia, New Zealand and finally came to the Yukon in 1967 where he "received a job to teach in the land of the mighty Moose - where weaklings need not apply." He and his family settled in Carcross and in 1970 moved to Whitehorse where he taught secondary school art and adults until 1979.

After that time, he began to work as an artist full-time. In 1993, seeking a more moderate climate, he and his wife Nicki moved to Victoria, British Columbia where he currently lives and works.

Ted Harrison credits the work of English painter Norman Comish for inspiring his life-long quest to paint people and places. He was also profoundly influenced by the curvilinear shapes of Maori art during his stay in New Zealand. He greatly admires the work of Austrian painter Hundert Wasser, Japanese print maker Katsushika Hokusai and the American painter Winslow Horner. But the strongest influence on his life and art was living in the land of the Yukon "where he found his Waterloo!"

His work can be found in numerous private and public collections throughout Canada and in England, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Germany and Japan. In 1987, he received the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian culture and was awarded an honorary doctorate at Athabasca University in Alberta in 1991. Other honours include being the first Canadian to have book illustrations selected for the International Childrens' Book Exhibition in Bologna, Italy. He received a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria in 1998 and, most recently, was awarded one of the university's 2003 Community Leadership Awards.

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