alumnus of Faribault high school now a nationally renowned oil painter | New
When 1990 Graduated from Faribault high school Jason tako looking at his sketchbooks from years ago, he thinks to himself, “It was an absolute miracle that I continued.”
Growing up in Faribault, Tako said he didn’t have much artistic advice outside of former FHS art teacher Eugene Larson, who taught an animal painting class and summer school. But Tako’s determination to continue learning, whether from his own practice or from his workshops, has led him to evolve in such a way that he has gained national fame.
“When it comes to art, a lot of people have this misconception that it’s something natural, but it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Tako said. “To draw really well I had to train hard… What is going to do it for someone more than anyone else is the desire to do it and keep going.”
Known as a good artist throughout high school, Tako said he stopped drawing and painting a “cold turkey” as a senior and instead chose bass guitar. He went to music school, became the honorary graduate of his class, and played bass for 10 years. But this was not the end of Tako’s painting days, as he relapsed into art drawing and painting from life. Faribault in particular gave Tako many opportunities for landscape painting.
“One of my favorite places, of course, was the River Bend Nature Center,” Tako said. “I went there almost every day at the very end of the 90s and 2000s; you could see me painting and drawing. I would go to the center, sketch and walk around.
At the same time, Tako worked as a graphic designer in the advertising department of Daily news from Faribault. He worked there for less than a year, but had time to get more used to painting wetlands thanks to an invitation from a colleague.
Marti Walsh of Faribault worked in the classifieds section, and knowing that Tako loved to paint woods and birds, she allowed him to paint on his wetlands. It became Tako’s refuge to hone his oil painting skills. Even when Walsh’s golden retrievers distracted Tako from his job, Walsh remembers coming back with a sketch of his dogs.
Tako himself said he didn’t remember that day, but had no doubts that it happened because Walsh’s three dogs often followed him to the wetlands.
“Sometimes she had a small boat and sometimes I would go out,” Tako recalls. “For an artist dealing with wildlife, just being outdoors is almost as important as painting. You don’t just work from photographs.
Tako moved from Faribault to Pennsylvania about 18 years ago, after meeting his wife, Becky. The move required some tweaking, he said, as Pennsylvania lacks the wetlands and the overall variety of landscapes it once captured in Minnesota. But if there’s one artistic subject that Pennsylvania has that Minnesota doesn’t, Tako said. These are the old barns that were built in the 1700s and 1800s.
Since moving to Pennsylvania, Tako has also become more interested in Native American culture, which he captured through portraits.
He also applied a method called western impressionism, a term he is not sure whether he invented or not, for his Native American paintings. Instead of painting realistically, he uses a cold wax medium used with mineral spirits to create a thick texture. He then paints on a cradled wood panel, which is a piece of wood with thick edges that holds the paint, and finishes the product with furniture wax. Instead of using brushes, he usually uses squeegees and rollers.
“My gallery in Missoula [Montana] sells them very well, ”said Tako. “People on social media say it sells really well. It’s not something I’m aiming for, but audiences continue to love it.
While many artists ask how Tako does his technique, he said, “I’m not telling anyone.
Tako also teaches art classes, which started in person but have moved on to Zoom since the pandemic. Across the country, artists “meet” online at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturdays for two hours of painting. For his YouTube channel, Tako records himself painting outdoors, or painting from life, from start to finish without any lapse of time.
“I can do these paintings in about an hour to an hour and a half,” Tako said. “I just demonstrated and talked about what I do. “
The peak of Tako’s career came in early 2020, just before the start of the pandemic. He was named Featured Artist at Southeast Wildlife Expo, which he described as “the most prestigious in the world”.
“It was really something,” Tako said of the honor. “I remember when they called me up and asked if I wanted to be the featured artist, I couldn’t believe it for a few days. I was on television and on billboards.
The Southeastern Wildlife Expo featured artist is invited to make a large painting for use in all of the exhibit’s advertisements, t-shirts, posters and other merchandise.
Tako finished a 36 x 48 inch painting of bighorn sheep with a North Dakota backdrop – a subject that had never been done before. He titled the painting, “The Road Less Traveled”.
“I had to do a bunch of other paintings for the show,” Tako said. “I painted like crazy that year.”
At the celebration in Charleston, South Carolina, “The road less traveled” was auctioned for $ 20,000. Actor Bill Murray was one of the guests, but Tako said the comedian was more interested in buying modern art than realistic paintings like Tako’s.
COVID-19 has been difficult for Tako and other artists who have had to rely on online sales. Fortunately, none of the galleries exhibiting his work have closed. His art can be found in galleries in Montana, Wyoming, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ohio. Although the Southeastern Wildlife Expo was canceled in 2021, he will automatically be involved in future shows.
Journalist Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.