Robert Jackson was born in 1948 in Port Edward, British Columbia. He took up carving on his own for over a decade, but in 1973 he attended the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art where he learned more techniques and instruction. He continued carving for an additional three years. In 1979 he opened the Sky Clan Art Shop in nearby Prince Rupert until 1984. Life pulled him in another direction and found himself taking a break from working with wood, precious metals (gold and silver), and ivory. In that time he met his wife, Hanna, who inspired him to get back into the studio and that is when he began to explore the Gitksan portrait mask.