Jack Reppen was born and educated in Toronto. While a student in a technical course at Northern Vocational School he began drawing sports cartoons for the Toronto Daily Star.
Encouraged by their success he entered the special art course at Northern, supplementing it characteristically, with evening classes at the Ontario College of Art and the “Famous Artists” course by correspondence. Jack always worked hard enough for three men, as if he had a premonition that he must crowd a lifetime of experience into a few short years. While he was an advertising artist at Prudential Life he was also cartoonist for the Star, caricaturing the entertainment world as well as sport. After he had finished each day’s double stint he was still able to throw himself with enthusiasm into painting, putting in often a twenty-hour day of creative work. He was married in 1956. In 1959, the year his second child was born, he had his first one man show at Gallery Moos.
Two years later he painted in Mexico for the first time and found there the inspiration that touched off an extraordinary three years of creative achievement. In 1962 he won the Baxter Award in the O.S.A. Ninetieth Annual Exhibition and was elected to membership in the Society. That same year he exhibited in Buffalo, in Rochester, had a one man show in Montreal, won prizes in Montreal and Winnipeg, and was bought by his first public gallery, the London Library. 1963 saw one man shows in Montreal, Kitchener, Ottawa and Toronto, the completion of his fourth mural in four years and the purchase acquisition of his paintings by two more galleries.
His death from cancer a few months later brought to an abrupt end the career of an unusually gifted and dedicated artist.