Born in Nampa, Idaho, Jesse Anderson has been doing artwork most of his life. He was given his first set of oil paints at age 11. After graduation from high school, Jess went directly into the U.S. Army. Upon learning of his art abilities, Uncle Sam saw fit to put him in charge of the Battalion Training-Aids Department (aka, the art department). Following his discharge in 1968, he met and married Cheryl, his wife of the last 40 years. One year later, with his wife working as a bookkeeper to keep the bills paid, he enrolled in the Advertising Art School in Portland, Oregon. After graduating top of his class, he started his own commercial art business making a great success of it for the next 16 years.After working all day as an illustrator and cartoonist, for many years he taught evening art classes for Chemeketa Community College. However, following the tragic death of his daughter, he closed down his business and completely gave up oil painting for five years. As his heart healed however, he began once again to see beauty in the sky and waters of Oregon. Finally, after spending a day photographing tide pools, fallen trees, rocks, streams and wildlife, he was ready to dig out the oil paints and dust off the easel.
Jesse's love of art extends not only to canvas but also to music and restoration design. He and his do-wop quartet do a History of Rock and Roll and oldies music show. Much of the rest of his time is spent using his artistic eye and construction talents to change run-down rooms and buildings into beautiful displays of Arts and Craft era design.
In 2003, four grants were given by the Nation Endowment of the Arts to teach inmates in the Federal prison system. Jess received one of those to a very successful ending. The shows of inmate art received high acclaim from the public.
Wherever the Anderson's travel, time is always taken to witness wildlife in its natural terrain and environment. Where that is not possible, zoos, either public or private, are a great source of material and inspiration. Jess never passes the chance to have hands on with the animals or birds he loves to paint and watch.
His personality is outgoing, his enthusiasm is catching, and his interests are broad. He paints the same way.
(Pictured above: American Gothic Goats copyright by Jess Anderson)