Leonardtown, MD: Chesapeake Bay artist Eric Jackson is on a mission to create an art production spanning 6 states and 11,000 miles of shoreline. As a contemporary wildlife artist from the shores of the Potomac River, he has been creating some of the most unique wildlife illustrations you’ll encounter in the region. His secret is in his process.
Jackson is a fiber artist who works with dye-based pigments mixed from water collected from his home on Breton Bay, the Potomac, and other points around the Southern Maryland peninsula. The water has always been an important element in his work. The mission of this new project is to use the Chesapeake water not just as a setting, but as the focus for each piece he creates. He’s calling the concept 100 Shirts, 100 Shores.
Over the course of the next few months, Jackson will be visiting 100 different locations across the Chesapeake estuary and collecting a small water sample at each stop. Each sample will be used to mix a batch of dye he’ll be using to create 100 unique shirts which illustrate a map of the watershed itself. The journey has already started on a few back creeks of the Potomac, but will eventually draw from head waters of the Susquehanna all the way down to Cape Charles, Va. When finished, Jackson hopes that 100 people will be able to wear the shirts as symbols of both our uniqueness and our interconnectedness.
Still in its early stages, the project has surpassed its funding goal, which means production has already begun. The project’s early supporters are helping to shape its development. When 100 Shores launched, Jackson started receiving stories from backers about places with unique histories or personal connections. Despite almost 40 years on the bay, many of the stories connected to rivers and creeks he’d never visited. He quickly started plotting a chart of these stories and their locations. “We think of the oceans as these vast unexplored environments, but our watershed right here is like a microcosm of that.” The 100 Shirts, 100 Shores project is as much about the journey as it is about the product.
Eric Jackson is a professional artist operating Bay Fibers Studio in Leonardtown, MD, near the lower Potomac. He has presented and sold his work in national and regional marketplaces for both public and private audiences.
If you would like to help with funding for the project, visit Kickstarter: 100 Shirts, 100 Shores.