CQU visual arts alumnus Jet is an artistic powerhouse

12 May 2023

With a highly successful art gallery and millions of followers on social media, Jet James is one of Australia’s true young artisans – and a testament to CQUniversity’s Visual Arts courses.

Jet has been dubbed the ‘face’ of CQU’s Visual Arts program as one its most successful alumni, having honed his craft at the former CQ TAFE before it merged with CQUniversity in 2014.

Although he has made his gallery – the Jet James Art Gallery in Yeppoon – into a successful business, his artworks, comprised of stunning lithographic portraits, landscapes and abstract visions, have been hailed the world over. Still, he is a creator at heart.

“Yes, the gallery is very busy, and I have store managers and junior managers who help me, so I have time to create – I have more time than ever these days,” he said.

“The online side of the business has really experienced a surge. The video ads and my posts, especially.”

Recently, just one of Jet’s posts of him creating garnered 20 million views on Instagram, which in turn led to more sales and commissions.

“I really like that side of it. It helps with the endorphins and keeps me excited about creating,” he said.

Over the past few years, Jet and his gallery have featured on Channel Nine’s My Way program, been profiled by Tourism Australia, and won several awards, including the People’s Choice Award and Best in Business Award by Capricorn Enterprise in 2022. A collagraph he created on mental health also recently won the acquisitive art prize at the Central Highlands Regional Art Awards.

He’s sold originals to collectors in New Zealand, Africa, the United States, Singapore, and Europe, with one businesswoman in Hawaii proud to own eight of his pieces.

Although Jet says he still has more to do, he remembers his humble beginnings in the art labs at CQU.

“Lots of doors opened for me back then. I never really thought I’d have my own gallery. I thought it’d be more about getting in exhibitions,” he said.

“Looking back, I know I had ambitions – I always thought big and wanted to reach those heights and I have done that. I just enjoy what I do.”

Jet will feature in a series of videos and on billboards to help highlight CQU’s visual arts program.

“It’s very humbling to be recognised in that way by your peers, especially from those at CQU,” he said.

“You have to acknowledge where you come from.”