Jeff Burgess is a serious artist

Jeff Burgess is a professor of Capilano University’s illustration and design program (IDEA). Although he is a recent addition to the faculty, having joined only two years back, he brings over thirty years of experience supporting himself as a full-time artist. 

Burgess recalls the moment he tumbled headfirst onto his artistic career path. Though he’d always drawn pictures, he hadn’t taken art in high school because it “wasn’t the cool thing to do”. The summer after he graduated, however, he began a drawing project with a friend. It was then that Burgess realized what he wanted to do with his life.

“I decided that I was going to be an artist, and that was all I was going to do.”

He went on to graduate from the Alberta College of Art and Design. From there Burgess worked multiple jobs as a professional illustrator, and finally as a freelance illustrator which he still does today. His job as an IDEA professor is only another example of how successfully Jeff Burgess has been at making a career out of being an artist.  

While often romanticized, art is an industry like any other. As a man who is employed as both a commercial artist and a fine artist, Burgess is familiar with working on both the personal and public level. He says that while both kinds of work require the same creative energy, what one can expect from an illustration job are strict parameters and multiple revisions, whereas with personal art the freedom of output is in your own hands. 

Jeff Burgess happily pursues both sides of the art world, content with the privileges of working in his backyard studio and avoiding the restrictions of a nine-to-five job. In an ideal world, however, he would have ultimate creative control and work exclusively through galleries. No matter what, he expects to create art for the rest of his life. 

“You don’t really retire. If you’re an artist, you’re an artist, it’s in your blood. It’s what I do, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

You can see Jeff’s work at

//Claire Vulliamy

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: