#030 – Artist Jim Robb and his “Colourful Five Percent”

Artist Jim Robb has been a staple of the Yukon’s art scene since the mid 1950’s and is best know for his Colourful Five Percent books which are available in local Yukon bookstores and galleries.  His works capture the quality and uniqueness of the many varied and colourful characters and places that many would argue, have made the Yukon a little more colourful than anywhere else in the north. 

Jim’s earliest artwork was primarily done on raw moose hide. The hide would be stretched into all kinds of different shapes, most often by Annie and Harry Silverfox along with their son Billy, and drawn in pastel and charcoal. Harry’s knowledge and friendship led Jim to become the first person to use the insides of snowshoes as frames.

Dawson City, the summer of ‘61, saw Jim beginning to use pen, ink, watercolour and photography as his mediums of choice as he continued his artistic development. In 1971 he started writing & illustrating a column, “The Colourful Five Percent”, for the Whitehorse Star, which primarily dealt with the life of historical buildings and ‘Yukon characters’.

Over the years Jim has had 3 books published, and yes, ‘they are read in all the better cabins’. They are comprised of short stories, photographs and drawings mostly about interesting and colourful Yukon personalities, the ‘Colourful Five Percent’. The first volume has been reprinted and is available here. https://yukonart.ca/products/colourful-five-percent-book-volume-1

In 1975, well known anthropologist Julie Cruickshank, with Jim’s participation, put out a book on the Yukon’s First Nation peoples.

In recognition of Jim Robb’s magnificent contribution of gathering and preserving Yukon history he was awarded Canada’s highest honour “The Order of Canada” in 2003.

Jim Robb and the Colourful Five Percent – Video by Mike Rudyk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXz06y8DKMM

To listen to the full podcast show, please click on MyAmazingYukonLife.com where you’ll find each weekly podcast link along with show notes and pictures related to each of the episodes. You can also download each episode from Buzzsprout or wherever you get your podcasts from. While you’re there, hit the subscribe button and leave me a comment on what you’d like to hear next on the show.

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I hope you enjoy this podcast and I thank you for joining me as a “M.A.Y.L. carrier”, as we proudly deliver our amazing Yukon life stories to the outside world.  


“Trapper Dan your Renaissance Man”

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