Today we’d like to introduce you to Van Jazmin.
Van, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up on a farm in a radioactive Pennsylvania township. I was raised by musicians who encouraged my dreams to be an artist. Luckily my public school teachers were unsuccessful at stopping me from drawing (they tried for 12 years). With my creativity intact, I went on to study master artists and graduate with a BA from Ringling College in Florida. Today, I live in Hollywood and get booked to draw at private events.
My body of work is an increasing collection of small black sketchbooks packed tightly into a suitcase. Each book is the same thickness – 80 pages – and filled with marker drawings. Each book is dated by the year. Each year, I produce between 12 and 20 sketchbooks. They are like photo albums of snapshots. The pages are filled with real people and places. I dream that my artwork can serve as a time capsule and be preserved for posterity.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I draw subjects in motion. I freeze the memory of what I just saw and output it immediately, like using my brain as a camera and tape recorder. I am inspired by whatever is around me. The subjects will often find me and demand to be seen by grabbing my attention. Action drawing is a way to capture a moment at the moment. I am inspired by photography, especially the stealth candid style of Nan Goldin. She is an example of an artist who makes art while participating in life.
I try to demystify the role of an artist by drawing everywhere. Sharpies and notebook paper are accessible easy to find art materials. The joys of portraiture and plein-air painting are not just for artists in ateliers. Drawing from life is like yoga for the brain. I encourage anyone to pick up a marker and draw.
I began drawing at parties as a way to cope with social awkwardness. Drawing gives me a reason to have restless hands and wandering eyes. What began as a compulsive habit to draw later took on a more cultural significance when I moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and focused in on subcultures. Time moves faster in LA. The stories absorb into the paper easier. The passage of time also adds new meaning to these sporadic snapshots. It is fulfilling to watch a larger story emerging from the art that is history itself playing out.
How can artists connect with other artists?
Being an artist does not need to be lonely or mean being a misfit monkey who dances for everybody. To artists looking to connect with other artists, I say will yourself into spaces where artists linger whether it be online or IRL. Interact with their work the way you would want someone to interact with yours. Don’t be afraid to talk to artists who you admire, even if you think they are out of your league. I am often surprised by how I get to collaborate with people who I used to be starstruck by. Also, do show up.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Instagram (@vanjazmin) is the best way people can see my work and find out where I will be dropping merch or exhibiting. I make prints on request. People in Los Angeles can also support my work by putting me on their VIP list and buying me a Red Bull if you see me out there in the field.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/vanjazmin
- Facebook: facebook.com/vanjazmin
- Twitter: twitter.com/vanjazmin