This is an incredible story of a young man, an artist and creative soul, whose journey must be read to be believed. Through immense adversity, Jet James has emerged on the other side as what I would consider a ‘Creative and Incredibly Humble Genius.’ Orphaned at the tender age of 8, following the tragic circumstances of his parents’ heroin addiction and demise (as Jet candidly shares below), Jet embarked on a life journey that eventually led him to the stunning shores of Yeppoon. What makes his story truly inspirational is that he’s now bringing people from all corners of the world together!

Jet’s parents were immigrants, and his earliest memories of childhood involve breaking into houses in Perth with his father to fund his parents’ heroin addiction. Often neglected and left to fend for himself, he weekends were spent visting the methone clinic with his parents, days at Perth’s local Brass Monkey Pub and Timezone i. It wasn’t until later in life that he discovered his famous (or almost famous) Indian-born mother, Angie King, not only hanging with Jimi Hendrix shortly before his death (as well-documented in Kathy Etchingham’s book, ‘Through Gypsy Eyes’), but she also married Eric Burdon, the lead singer of The Animals, and briefly dated Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS. (Are you intrigued yet?)

Jet’s father, Steven, was an up-and-coming artist of British descent who tragically took Angie’s life in a violent home invasion, shortly after Angie left him for another woman. After serving time in jail, Steven’s life ended in suicide, leaving Jet and his sister as orphans. As Jet puts it, “Dad simply couldn’t find the light within himself.” Jet’s teenage years

were incredibly challenging, marked by constant bullying at school due to his soft nature, shyness, and introverted personality, compounded by his parents’ troubled history. At the age of 15, Jet found himself living on a remote 70,000-acre cattle station in the Gulf with his uncle and aunt. Jet recalled, “No social life (school of the air), no girls, sheer isolation, and remoteness – there was nothing to do. Art kept me sane.” When he came of age, he returned to Western Australia. Jet’s journey led him to Yeppoon on a whim, following a New Year’s resolution and a breakup. “I thought I was in love with a girl (I wasn’t), so I hopped on a plane with just a bag and headed to Rockhampton, where my sister was now living.” Jet got into a cab at Rockhampton Airport, asked the driver to take him to the nearest backpackers’ hostel, and, as he stepped out of the cab, the first person he saw coming out of a news agency was his sister. “It was very bizarre and serendipitous,” Jet exclaimed.

He then added, “I enrolled in a Visual Art degree in Rockhampton, even though the course was officially closed that day. They initially said I was too late, but I showed them my amateur artwork, and they accepted me into the program right away!” He would later win a prestigious prize in a painting module and complete his degree a few years later.


Initially, Jet followed a very traditional path in art. “I used to organise exhibitions, and they were hard work,” Jet reminisced. However, one day he had the opportunity to exhibit his art in a pop-up shop that engaged the local community. “It gave me insight into the divide between the business sector and the art industry – it’s a business, I soon realised!” As of October 2023, Jet James Art Gallery has been operating for 2.5 years, with his primary income coming from the sale of original artworks and prints. “I was initially against selling prints, but as my profile soared through social media, I sometimes sell prints for more than the original once they go viral. This also increases the value of my original pieces and for their new owners,” Jet proudly noted. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved!

Jet takes pride in the fact that his art today connects his past to his present and challenges the stereotypes of how artists should live, crediting the laid-back lifestyle of Yeppoon and its welcoming community for that. When asked about his sources of inspiration, Jet said, “Inspiration is simply a perception of the world as we see it. With my portraits, I aim to translate them into functional products like tea towels that people can use in their everyday lives.”

Jet’s art is characterised by its emotional depth, and he identifies himself as a contemporary artist. While not strictly traditional, he has a deep appreciation for traditional art forms like etching and printmaking. “I’m experimental and enjoy changing things up to convey emotions through my art. It’s that simple! I view it as a romantic way of creating art. I’m more relaxed and spontaneous this year, and I’m excited about what lies ahead,” Jet shared.

After all these years, Jet has found forgiveness in his heart for his father and moved forward. He adores Yeppoon, its lifestyle, and its community, remarking, “Everyone here is just so nice!” While Jet may not always be in his Art Gallery every day, he assured us that he’s always around. Whether you’re new to the area or a local who hasn’t visited Jet James Art Gallery yet, make sure to drop by! Jet loves a good chat, and he’d be delighted to share his story and his artwork.

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