While Jason Frizzell was growing up in Red Deer he would sometimes watch his grandfather paint cowboy scenes in his home art studio.
Frizzell admitted his mom’s dad, Harry Spelman, became an unwitting inspiration, helping pave the way for Frizzell’s own art career. “As I got older, going to school for visual arts wasn’t an unusual thing for me to think of, or for my parents to hear,” explained the now 49-year-old.
From a teenage cartoonist, Frizzell evolved into a printmaker and sculptor at Red Deer College. He continued his studies at the University of Calgary, and eventually got a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria in 1998. A year later, Frizzell was hired as an RDC art instructor and he is now Dean of the School of Creative Arts.
But despite his time-consuming day job, he has remained a working artist who creates fantastical worlds, often fraught with psychological meaning. He started tinkering with various modelling kits — from dinosaurs to military vehicles and buildings. Frizzell regularly pulls pieces from these and readapts them for his own imaginative purposes.
“In some ways, my work has become a little stranger,” he admitted, with a chuckle. Along with Mad Max influences, there are now prehistoric creatures and spacemen. “I really enjoy this strange sense of the futuristic and historic stuff happening at the same time,” said Frizzell.
The artist, who exhibits at the Herringer-Kiss Gallery in Calgary, also enjoys being a member of the Red Deer Arts Council. He said the group ”does a really good job of connecting artists of different types,” providing links to resources, and advocating for arts in the city.