The beauty of artistic creation is that what wasn’t actually there can be imagined and added, like these wolves painted into a winter wonderland frozen in time.
Introduction by Michelle Theall. Double Vision Alaska Art/Photography by Jon Van Zyle and Jeff Schultz.
What happens when you take two creative legends working in different mediums and combine their artistic talents to focus on a singular project? The result, as seen in the new book Double Vision Alaska, is a stunning collaborative effort that offers a completely unique and fresh take on the Alaskan landscape. Artist Jon Van Zyle and photographer Jeff Schultz have documented the Iditarod over decades and miles, each capturing its dogs, gear, people, and terrain in paint and pixels—as official visual keepers of history of the Last Great Race. Jon says that he and Jeff tossed around the idea of working together years ago, but the “shuffle of everyday life” always got in the way. After an accident in 2017 involving Jeff’s son left the Schultz family with extensive medical expenses, Jon and Jeff created their first piece together as a fundraiser to offset those bills. The positive reception of that work sparked further tandem efforts, along with the creation of Double Vision Alaska, a book of paintings and photographs, with many images combinations of both mediums. Jon’s wife, Jona, and Jeff’s wife, Joan, help bring the tome to life through written explanations and memories.
“Jeff and I tend to see our Alaska in a similar way; but Jeff composes his pictures through the eye of his camera lens, and I compose my art through my mind’s eye,” Jon says. “Jeff captures the immediate here and now, while my memories are of the there and then.”
The process starts with the two selecting one of Jeff’s photos and brainstorming ideas to enhance it. Jon sketches the concept further until they agree on the additions to be made. Jon uses water-based acrylics on glossy photo paper to render the past and present into a completely new art form. Excerpts from Double Vision Alaska in this photo essay demonstrate the merger of talents, where the collective whole becomes greater than its parts, and seamless incorporation yields singular, legendary greatness. Learn more about this duo at DoubleVisionAlaska.com.