Jacek Yerka was born in Toruń, Poland, in 1952 – where he later studied fine art and graphic design. According to Yerka, he was pressured by his university instructors to eschew detail and realism in favor of the fashion of the times – but did not relent, adhering to the meticulous classic Flemish technique that still typifies his work. In time they came to see him as a brilliant – though troubled – talent. Yerka graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, specializing in printmaking. He began working full time as an artist in 1980.