The Chesapeake to me
The Chesapeake is one of the world's largest estuaries and a critically important habitat. It's home to over 300 species of fish, plus 100's of different species of birds and waterfowl. And a lot of people.
I grew up on the Chesapeake. Summer camps for me meant pH test kits & aquatic grass identification. I snuck my first kiss on a 2 week field study with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Me, my friends, my family and my friends' families are connected to the Bay. Many of my clients who collect my work- and maybe you!- also live in the Chesapeake watershed. Collectively, we can all say we care about the water here.
The process is in the product
Inspired by the mid-Atlantic wildlife, the imagery is translated into illustrations using wax resist and dye based techniques of fabric batiks. Each piece is created in a painstaking step-by-step process in which a layer of wax is melted into natural fibers, and the fabric is dyed to absorb color. Then once dry, another layer of wax is melted on to the fabric to protect the color, before it is then dyed in a new color and then repeated again.
Once completed, the wax layers are boiled off and the colorfast dyes all remain to create a beautiful image with amazing texture and an incredible surface quality. Each artwork emerges with a unique visual style- highly detailed, but wildly different from traditional wildlife illustrations.
E. Clark Jackson
My work is a contemporary interpretation of wildlife from the mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay region. I think of the majority of my work as traditional wildlife illustration- fish, sea life, waterfowl, birds and the landscapes they inhabit, but with a modern and unique vibe.
I use traditional batik (wax resist & dyeing) processes in my work to create a trademark style in each image that seems anything but conventional. My aim is to create art that is bold but comfortable, and preserves the nature of the wildlife that may not be around forever. I hope my work can capture a place or a memory that rests in the past and in the present on the endless miles of shoreline of the Chesapeake estuary.
The Bigger Picture
Art + Conservation
While an artist and art educator by trade, I originally went to school to study biology and marine science. Since a young age, I have had a deep interest in water quality and aquatic life, especially in and around the Chesapeake region where I grew up. Now as an artist, I am very interested in exploring our relationship to the water- and to nature as a whole- from different perspectives.
This includes connections based on emotion or memories, but also wider connections based on conservation or ecology. I’ve also become fascinated with the idea of using the water itself as part of the content of an artwork conceptually. As an avid outdoorsmen, I began collecting small samples of water in water bottles when I would be out on the river. I bring those water samples back to use in mixing dyes that I then use to render my images.
I am an artist and a conservationist. I like to think that in the long run, my work will stand as evidence of the role that artists can play alongside other organizations and non-profits serving the region. We as artists have a powerful voice as communicators in a dialog which informs our past, as well as our current and future work.