“Access to arts and culture should be free for everyone,” says artist Jack Whyte. “Anyone can tour my 2015 exhibits online for free and - from anywhere in the world.” He and his son Dylon Whyte created a virtual gallery this past Spring where artworks are experienced up close and personally, as if literally standing in front of them.
"It's great to produce and present work on a scale of my choice, the way I originally envisioned it," Jack explains. As a young boy he never imagined having the opportunity to design and construct art without restriction. The discovery of a platform which allows for creative freedom has provided a new means for connecting with others.
Jack Whyte was born in 1939 in Toronto, Ontario - just before the start of the second World War. Having been influenced at an early age by a creative environment, he has pursued artistic practices as well as the adventure of invention for more than 55 years.
2015 marks the beginning of a new exploit for Jack, the release of his latest publication, 'Scrapbook: a story of art'. From modelling with Mickey Mouse as a child to showing at the Pollock Gallery and even winning awards for videos, this book recounts the journey and challenges faced by a becoming artist and the enormous adversity that life can throw at you.
In the autumn of 2014, Jack mentioned to his son, Dylon, that he was starting a book and could use some help with it. Over the course of a long winter and many toasty afternoons by the fire, they searched for, found, prepared and put together what has become a very personal and thoughtful one-of-a-kind memoir.
"It's not until you have the whole story that you really understand how the pieces all fit together," says Dylon Whyte. "It's also difficult to put everything into perspective when you're part of the story. Getting to the point where I can hold a part history in my hands helps me understand where I come from."
When Jack and Dylon started producing the book, it was just a collection of stories and images, but with months of collaboration and hard work, they have created an album that is delightfully personable and genuinely familiar.
"Jack tells you about the experiences that influenced him as an artist and includes all sorts of fun stories from his life," says Ashley Whyte, wife of Dylon and proprietor of the Whytes gallery on the waterfront in the Gore Bay Harbour Centre. "There is also an abundance of never-before-seen photographs and a wealth of artwork. When Jack named it Scrapbook, he really meant it."
Coming in at a whole 456 pages, Scrapbook was digitally published in June of this year and is available online for everyone to read for free. Although it was only meant to be a digital publication, new economic platforms have given Scrapbook the opportunity to become something more than just a concept.
"The book is obviously quite big and financing a print run on our own wouldn't be viable, so we talked about other options and crowdfunding came up as a potential," explains Ms. Whyte. "It's an incredibly different approach than anything Jack is familiar with, he has always done things on his own. It wasn't until only recently that we knew something like this even existed."
Crowdfunding is the process of funding your projects through small contributions made by many individuals in order to attain a certain monetary goal, typically via the internet. The model that has been around the longest is rewards-based crowdfunding, where people can donate and receive goods in recognition of their support.
Ashley and Dylon Whyte have taken Scrapbook to Rockethub; a platform specializing in arts and entertainment, to seek help in bringing Jack's story to life. They've launched their campaign and are working to raise $11,500 to cover the costs of printing a limited edition hardcover. In the meantime, Scrapbook remains free for everyone to read online and enjoy.
For more information about Scrapbook and how you can help, please visit their Rockethub campaign at: scrapbook.whytesonline.com