Jasmyn Milan is a 21 year old visual artist based out of North Carolina but originally from Wilmington Delaware. She used her fears and insecurity of eye contact with others to help jump start her passion for art and created abstract characters with cooky eyes. Having her pieces relate back to herself is very well perceived by audiences and you are sure to find yourself in one of the characters. At such a young age, Jasmyn has already had the opportunity to showcase her artwork in Puerto Rico and build a connection with the country. She is all for women empowerment and uses her passion to encourage women to be themselves. She’s a force to be reckoned with and below you can get to know more about Jasmyn, her art-in particular her “Harsh Realities and Brutal Fatalities” series, what she thinks the art world is missing, Puerto Rico and where she wants to go next.
ToD: Of course, you had to progress to the artistic style you have now, what was your art like first starting out? Did you always want to create an abstract-trippy perception in your artwork?
JM: My art was always very character based. I love to create new people and really play with their eyes. As I became older, I started paying attention to eyes and their importance-they are our visible source of perception. It’s crazy because when I was a kid, up until my late teenage years, I had terrible problems with eye contact. It was always abstract, only because I like to create a scenario, whether it is evident to the viewer or not. When I was in middle school-I created a monster named Frank. I’m unsure of what the exact inspiration was but he was a rebel on the run from the police. I think drawing crazy things growing up helped me cope with a lot of my fears; drawing them would help me relate and put a story behind them. It would help me understand a little better.
ToD: Some of your pieces like “Pucci Self-Indulgence”, “Lee-Lee-Plastic Surgery” or “Chip-All Good” are featuring aspects of life/society that are focused so heavily right now. How are your pieces bringing awareness to topics such as narcissism, body positivity and drug use?
JM: They are showing reliability in situations, even when people cannot relate to the actual piece-which can make us think in a more open minded manner. I am Pucci- I too have had issues with my identity and the pressure to be who I wanted to be. I am Lee-Lee-who feels the pressure to fit with societies unrealistic standards. I am Chip-someone who has indulged in over consumption. There have been people who have judged the characters and then later have found that they can identify with them whether they relate to the exact portrayal or not. I want to keep that vulnerability, I want people to feel comfortable sharing their stories with me and to feel comfortable sharing mine as well. It’s a new connection…I learn new things about myself when I explain why I did something…you know?
ToD: How was your trip to Puerto Rico and the art show? How did you come across that opportunity?
JM: Puerto Rico was crazy, the people were beautiful and so talented. My tour guide, Andres, describes himself as a “neo-altruistic being of light” which is a pretty accurate depiction of how he is. We connected on a spiritual and mental level and spent a lot of time in nature. I learned a lot from him. As for the show, Andres had told me that Santurce Es Ley was going on and I could go check it out. I traveled to Santurce and talked to the people in the community (there were artists everywhere who were so down to earth-working on murals, sculptures and graffiti pieces, etc.). Just networking my way through, I was helped out a lot and ended up getting a space to sell in the festival and a vendor slot in a local venue. I met a lot of art dealers and also artists who inspire me, as well as many kind and supportive people who appreciate the message behind my work.
ToD: What country would you like to showcase your artwork next?
JM: I really want to get to the UK by next year. Japan will always be on my list.
ToD: What is it like being a female artist and how do you use your passion as empowerment for others?
JM: Being a female artist is sick as hell. I’m 5 different artists for every medium. I feel like art unleashes every part of me…from the standoffish girl who has a twisted dark side, to my inner funky diva that doesn’t take shit from anybody. There are also a lot of other amazing female artists on the rise that are starting businesses and really hustling…they all inspire me. We’re a movement. Female artists are molding the future and are fearless. I use my passion to empower others by encouraging them to be themselves. To push them when it’s needed and try my best to aid them when trying to manifest their visions. I am a very open person, people can come to me when they need something or have an idea they don’t know how to mold.
ToD: What type of series would you like to create next like your “Harsh Realities and Brutal Fatalities” series?
JM: I’ve been thinking of making a Part 2…more raw, more intense…
ToD: What do you think the art world is truly missing and how do you plan to never have a void in your work?
JM: The art world is missing people being comfortable. I think we should have an open space with other artists and potential creatives, to find inspiration, to voice our frustrations and low points and to be open and honest to help each other grow and progress. One thing I love is that people come to me when they feel uninspired or they feel discouraged to start…I’m not here to put up a front like I’m inspired every waking breathing minute of my life. I don’t want others to get discouraged in points and times where they feel uncomfortable. I think being open and speaking on it can inspire someone who feels like quitting or feels like they “can’t” be an artist, you know? I can’t promise to never have a void but I promise to never become stagnant with my work. I never want to get to a point where I’m like, “Oh, people like this”, and let that influence my direction. The goal is to “always beat yourself” as an artist.
ToD: What/Who inspires you to create day to day?
JM: So many things inspire me. Honestly for every piece there’s a different story of how and why it came about. I think that the more I appreciate new things and also things that I am already familial with as well, I can continue to find different ways to appreciate them and remember how sacred and impressive they are. Delaware inspires me so much though-the people, the art and music community, the local restaurants and gas stations that gave me so much knowledge and culture growing up.
ToD: What else are you working on creatively or what direction would like to go in next?
JM: Right now I am working on my creative direction portfolio. I have been directing video and photo shoots and also writing treatments for artists at free of charge. I really want to challenge myself to portray my drawings in the real world and collaborate with other artists to bring different ideas to life. As for direction-wilder, bigger, and even more vibrant.