Ronald Jackson grew up in a farming family in the rural Arkansas Delta and was the youngest of eleven siblings. From an early age, his preoccupation for being creative was apparent to all that knew him.
In 1988, Jackson moved to California immediately after high school, and started an Architectural Design program at Mission Viejo College. It was there that he took his one and only art class, which introduced him to oil painting. He became intrigued by the local Laguna Beach art scene. He eventually withdrew from the Architectural program, got married and joined the U.S. Army in 1992. In joining the Army, life took a turn for a new set of experiences and a series of challenging adventures. He maintained an interest in art, but mostly by observing the artwork of others.
In 2001, halfway through his military career, Jackson had an epiphany that inspired him to consider a post-military career as an artist and painter. However, he realized that he needed much development, and that there was little to no opportunity to attend art school while serving abroad. He therefore read, researched and studied all he could in order to experience significant growth as he worked towards improving his skill; while at the same time, managing multiple military deployments and frequent training exercises.
In 2010, he entered his first exhibition in a regional show, juried by Jennifer Glave Kocen of Glave Kocen Gallery and received the Best of Show award, marking the beginning of the public recognition of his work. In 2011, Jackson had his first solo exhibition at the Libertytown Arts Workshop, in which he displayed a series of works that included over forty paintings. In 2013, he returned to Libertytown for a second show which included nearly fifty new works. During time spent abroad, Jackson received an invitation to participate in a group exhibition titled “The Nude Collection” at Gallery Golmok in Seoul Korea. In February 2014, he gave his third solo exhibition at the Elegba Folklore Society in Richmond, VA, as part of collaboration with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). The exhibition addressed the themes of race, place, and identity through the arts. In 2014, Jackson was one of sixty artists to exhibit their work in Emergence 2014: International Artists to Watch at Galerie Myrtis in Baltimore, MD.
Jackson makes a point to present people of color in his work. Having a broad interest in various styles of art, his work sometimes blurs between fine art and illustration. He is inspired and influenced by contemporary artist such as Lucian Freud, Kent Williams, and Kerry James Marshall. In May 2014, Jackson retired from the Army after 21 years of service.