Jackson Harvey – The Art Behind the LegoMaster

Fine Art@Hale spoke to Jackson Harvey in his Fremantle studio, Level Up – a space in amongst the buildings of Notre Dame University that the artist manages and shares with eight other creatives.

The stars came to town earlier this term when Old Haleians Jackson Harvey and Alex Towler (2002 – 2007) visited the Hale School campus to share some of their stories as the newly crowned LegoMasters Champions for 2020!

Jackson and Alex in action at LegoMasters 2020

Watching the series, it was clear that the pair have a great friendship, but the real key to their success was the combination of the complementary skills each brought to the table. Alex’s contributions in design and engineering, and Jackson’s storytelling through the creative element, resulted in Lego sculptures that consistently impressed with their detail and imagination.

Unsurprisingly, it is this creative element that has been a constant with Jackson, and he has carved out an inventive and varied art practice that explores story telling in so many ways. 

After graduating from Hale School in 2007, Jackson went on to complete a Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) at UWA.  Upon completion, he immediately began an apprenticeship as a tattooist. The term ‘apprenticeship’ is one Jackson uses in the loosest possible way.  Without formal qualifications, Jackson says that being able to call oneself a tattooist is essentially determined by practice and individual development.  After two years, he felt he had acquired the necessary technical skills, and he has been working successfully in the industry both at home and abroad for the last eight years.

Beyond tattooing, Jackson says his true passion lies in mural work.  While participating in a couple of local government workshops on ‘street art’ as a teenager, Jackson discovered the aerosol can and has had a growing love of the medium ever since.  Essentially self-taught in the craft, the artist says he “kept doing murals until people started paying me for them.”

Looking around his studio space, with each wall a different design, it is easy to see why they paid!  Jackson’s style of mural art is unique: often (but not always) using bright colours, pixelated overlays and real characters or subjects, sometimes stylishly exaggerated but more often convincingly realistic.

As well as his studio walls, Jackson’s mural work graces many public spaces around Fremantle and Perth.  It has gone much further afield too, with many private and local government commissions.

A recent work by Jackson at the Hyde Park Hotel

Comparing Jackson’s disparate creative practices – tattooist and mural painter – gives credence to his artistic gifts.  As a tattooist, Jackson designs each piece together with the recipient, and the resulting artwork is small scale, permanent and personal.  At the other extreme, his mural practice – also designed in consultation – is large scale, ephemeral and public.  As different as they are in scale, permanence and audience, the unifying theme is the narrative and story telling that Jackson is able to realise in his creative work.

This year, Fine Art@Hale is delighted to welcome Jackson Harvey back to exhibit with us, having last exhibited in 2013. To celebrate the occasion, one of Jackson’s exhibited pieces has also been selected to underpin Fine Art@Hale’s 2020 marketing theme.

The Big Idea, 2020
Acrylic aerosol on canvas
By Jackson Harvey 
Image © Courtesy of Artist

For the boys at Hale School, Jackson will also be presenting an evening ‘Artist Talk’ to the collective Boarding Houses – a Fine Art@Hale event which began last year with Mt Barker artist, Carly le Cerf.  Later in Term 4, Jackson will be one of a group of professional artists presenting the 9ArtsFest program on campus – an arts event that is fast becoming very popular with the students.  Having studied ATAR level Visual Arts whilst at Hale School, it is fantastic to welcome back to Fine Art@Hale yet another creative Old Haleian who continues to pursue his passion!