Jae Sterling is a multidisciplinary artist and founding member of the FOREIGNERZ artist collective and production house. Beginning as a musician, he has extended his art form over the years to include painting (acrylic & oil), digital design & mixed media, streetwear design, creative direction and written essays. Through his early years in Kingston, Jamaica to the landscapes of North America, Jae has spent the past few years developing his artistry by weaving his experiences growing up in Jamaica, South Florida, and coming into adulthood In Canada into all his projects. In 2019, his exploration in hip hop led him to be one of 10 artists selected for the National Music Centre’s Alberta residency program. Sterling has so far released four music projects and has toured in Alberta & Ontario.
In 2020, Sterling embarked on an ambitious year-long multimedia exhibition, Riding Horses with White Men (RHWWM). This exhibition debuted in Calgary in summer 2020. The success of RHWWM led to him being one of Calgary’s first black muralists, painting The Guide & Protector in Chinatown. In 2021 Jae Sterling was invited to be the art fellow & curator of the Arts Commons Incubator Program for the 2021-2022 season. In 2022 Jae curated a month-long multimedia exhibition featuring the work of 17 Alberta based artists in Calgary – New Architects In A Liminal Time, showcasing pandemic art that channels the strange, surreal and survivalist elements of this era. Most recently, Sterling was selected to create a film around his Riding Horses With White Men essays and short stories by Telus Storyhive and The Black Screen Office.
“There is an obvious beauty and appeal that comes from the skies that I am truly afraid to neglect in my work – Portal Maker, my second mural is an indulgence of this theme as I return to the clouds yet again.
I started portals as a means to escape, afraid of art being dead in the water and the pandemic infecting my art in a hyper negative way – in this sense my portals proved to be quite useful. This design ‘PORTAL MAKER’ has been seen in a smaller form through my installation at TRUCK (SEVEN PORTALS), and is one that should inspire optimism and a continuation of the recent art boom in Calgary.
The figure’s head is held high, above the clouds, the portal resting in her chest, resembling the sun. My portal maker looks to the future as a cyclical regeneration – with a design representing an optimistic future that is ecologically abundant yet still incredibly human. Portal Maker creates new land masses, suggesting an abundance in life and our capacity to return to the ecosystem that allows for human life to exist.”