Visual Art Educator
I am a visual art educator entering my fourth year in a public elementary school. There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be than in my classroom with my students, nothing makes me happier. My art room is filled with mutual respect and genuine artmaking. I do not play the role of lecturer, I strive for coresearcher and fellow artist. I promote independent learning through genuine excitement and collaboration. The benchmarks in my curriculum focus on academic mindsets, 21st-century skills, and social-emotional skills. Art is an amazing vehicle for teaching a variety of skills more crucial for students’ development than technical art skills.
I have been making work under the name MakerJake since early 2015. Originally the name was a mask to hide my social media from my students, I am a visual art educator, but it has since developed into an artistic identity. Since the evolution of MakerJake I have begun an extremely successful Instagram campaign, taken part in many group exhibitions, had a solo show, sold artwork worldwide, and curated/organized a national call for entry.
I was born on the outskirts of a widely respected and involved Native American family from Massachusetts. I feel that I am forever occupying the cultural space between my Native Heritage and my traditional American upbringing. My work is primarily a study of visual culture, a representation of myself in that emotionally complicated space. My paintings depict colorful and powerful portraits that are dismantled and pieced together creating artworks that combine cultural pattern work with contemporary design. It’s hard to say whether my process brings me closer to my Native Heritage or merely cements me in this place of emotional and visual limbo.