"One curator said he didn't want my work in his gallery because it was so simple even children understood it. I thought, what a wonderful tribute!"
(Ted Harrison quoted in "Harrison" by Flora Evans. Up Here: Life in Canada's North, June-July, 1986. Yellowknife, NWT: Outcrop Publishing, 1986. P. 39.)
Educated in England, Ted Harrison graduated first with a National Diploma in Design and later with an Art Teacher's Diploma. He then set out to see the world, working with British Army Intelligence and as a teacher before falling in love with the Yukon and settling in Carcross in the fall of 1968. Harrison became a Canadian citizen in 1973 and taught art until 1979, when he became a full-time artist and illustrator. He credits the vast and majestic beauty of the Yukon with the bold lines and unusual choice of colours that are so predominant in his art. In a Harrison painting a lake may be orange, a moose blue, and a sky a rainbow of reds. His books begin as pictures in his mind, and the story is created around the image. He doesn't do preliminary sketches but prefers to draw the background first, then add colour, and eventually people, animals, and houses. Uncluttered and vibrantly coloured, Harrison's style is distinctive. Tiny creatures -- dogs, ravens, and people in colourful parkas -- are set against an overwhelming expanse of land, mountains, sea, and sky. He has illustrated and written books for children, among them two Robert Service poems, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" and "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", and A Northern Alphabet for which he received the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour Award. He has been a Member of the Order of Canada since 1987. Sadly, Ted passed away in January of 2015.
1984 International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Certificate of Honour, for illustration, for A Northern Alphabet.
Books for Children
The Blue Raven. Written and illustrated by Ted Harrison. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1989.
32 p.: col. ill.; 27 cm.
Children of the Yukon. Written and illustrated by Ted Harrison. Montreal: Tundra Books of Montreal; Plattsburgh: Tundra Books of Northern New York, 1977.
24 p.: chiefly col. ill.; 25 x 27 cm.
The Cremation of Sam McGee. Written by Robert W. Service; illustrated by Ted Harrison; introduction by Pierre Berton. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1986, c1907.
32 p.: col. ill., maps; 31 cm.
The Last Horizon: Paintings & Stories of an Artist's Life in the Yukon. Written and illustrated by Ted Harrison; introduction by Pierre Berton. Toronto: Merritt Publishing, 1980.
112 p.: ill. (some col.); 30 cm.
A Northern Alphabet. Written and illustrated by Ted Harrison. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1989, c1982.
30 p.: col. ill.; 21 x 27 cm.
ISBN 0887762093 (bound)
ISBN 0887762336 (pbk.)
O Canada. Written and illustrated by Ted Harrison. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1992.
32 p.: col. ill.; 31 cm.
The Shooting of Dan McGrew. Written by Robert W. Service; illustrated by Ted Harrison. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1988.
30 p.: col. ill.; 32 cm.
Books for Adults
Much Beloved Daughter: The Story of Florence Li Tim Oi. Written by Ted Harrison. Wilton, Connecticut: Morehouse-Barlow, 1985.
ix, 109 p.: ill., ports.; 21 cm.
Ted Harrison: A Brief. Written by Ted Harrison. Whitehorse, Yukon: T. Harrison, 1980.
4 p.: 28 cm.
(A brief to the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee)
The World of Ted Harrison. Victoria, B.C.: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1996.
14 p.: col. ill.; 28 cm.
(Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Sept. 20-Nov. 17, 1996)
Shows & Exhibitions:
1985 - La Bienniale d'Illustrations. Bratislavia, Czechoslovakia (A world-wide illustrator's forum)
1986 - Hambleton Galleries
1988 - Hollander York Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
many shows throughout the years
Pemberton Securities Ltd
Government of Yukon C.I.L. Collection
Alberta House, London, England
Canada Packers Collection
Makay & Partners
University of Alberta
Order of Canada, for outstanding contribution to the arts
Represented the Yukon Territory for 2 years on the Explorations Board of the Canada Council
Director for three years of the National Parks
Citizens Centennial Committee
Ted's work underwent a transformation when he arrived in Carcross, Yukon in the fall of 1968. The vast and awesome beauty of the Yukon landscape challenged the artist to push the boundaries of tradition and what emerged on his canvasses was an explosion of colour and undulating lines that was all his own. Ted has now become synonimous with the Yukon and when one thinks of one the other immediately comes to mind. Considered one of Canada's most prominent artists, Ted Harrison moved to Victoria in 1993, where he now resides and works.
Wilderness Wanderers 48 x 36 in. Acrylic on canvas
Rolling Seas 36 x 24 in. Acrylic
Northern Ukrainian 24 x 18 in. Acrylic
Spirit of Langara 24 x 18 in. Acrylic on canvas
Lonely in Carcross 18 x 24 in. Acrylic on canvas
Celebration of the 1972 Arctic Winter Games In Whitehorse 24 x 36 in. Acrylic on canvas
Skiing the Outback 18 x 24 in. Acrylic on canvas
The Day of the Bright Sun 20 x 24 in. Acrylic on canvas
A Merry Morning 24 x 30 in. Acrylic on canvas
Ross River Fire - 1976 20 x 16 in. Acrylic on canvas