“Push the Trigger—Pull the Thread”
Intent and Tension in the Art of Jasmyn Milan
Jasmyn Milan is intriguing. She’s a graphic artist, an experimental music artist, a researcher, a student, and an intern. She hails from Wilmington, Delaware. She’s a junior in the Biology program at North Carolina Central University in addition to being one of the most compelling visual artist’s in our area. Her work is a dynamic collage of her dreamscapes, realities, fears, and aspirations distilled into chromophilic drawings, digital projections onto human forms, and Tilt Brush Realities. I got a chance to gallery walk and cruise the city with Jasmyn for this interview and I am more in awe than ever.
by: Solomon Burnette
[See our interview below the video]
Video produced by Six Green Apples and Solomon Burnette
S: How long have you been drawing?
Jas: I’ve been drawing since I was three, but I didn’t really get serious with it until my freshman year of college. I feel like being in a compressed setting that really frustrated and challenged me, pushed out some of my best work, but I’ve been playing with different media. I’ve been doing 3D work since 2013, but I’m really beginning to learn how to navigate more complex softwares.
S: Is drawing your preferred medium or do you prefer another medium?
Jas: Drawing is what’s comfortable to me, but I don’t want to limit myself. I want to get into sculpting-physically and on 3D platforms. I’m projection mapping right now and learning how to create motorized projections-it’s like a new thing every day with me.
S: Explain Tilt Brush some.
Jas: Tilt Brush is a virtual reality platform that is basically breaking all artistic boundaries, there are multiple virtual reality softwares that are making creating almost anything an easy job for anyone. I love VR and all of the technology and engineering that is being integrated into the art world. I’m kind of obsessed with tech and the infinite possibilities of life in augmented reality- but I’m afraid of it, too.
S: That’s deep. Who’s your favorite artist?
Jas: I’m really inspired by Keiichi Tanaami-an abstract pop artist. I have like 5000 favorite artists-Colin Christian, Ignasi Monreal, February James, [and] Jason Freeny are some of my favorite contemporary artists-they’re amazing and limitless. I love Max Ernst and Dali-I could go on for days in every genre-new and old-there is so much talented work out there. I have Keiichi Tanaami and Lois Mailou Jones’ work tattooed on me-she’s one of the coolest ladies from the Harlem Renaissance-which plays a major role in my style as well.
S: So a lot goes into your art. What inspires you?
Jas: A lot is inspired by dreams and nightmares that I had when I was in childhood. I’ll take different pieces of a nightmare and I’ll put them in different parts of the art. I had an overactive imagination and it leads itself to paranoia, but sometimes paranoia can give you a lot of courage. It’s a great thing, too. Everything comes with balance.
S: In some spheres only the paranoid survive. If you have an awareness of the traumas we’ve all undergone to be here and you draw attention to the craziness that’s going on inside us and around us and as a result of us and happening to us, it makes you seem out of place if you draw attention to it. If you get a glimpse of people’s subtle natures, it’s not all butterflies, bumble bees, and flowers.
Jas: Not to say people are monsters, but this is a virtual world in retrospect, we are what we project; and how you feel about people says a lot about you. I’m becoming aware of the things I do right and the things I do wrong. And I’m just growing-my art is a way to record my fuck-ups, and the things that I’m doing right, too.
S: How does your anxiety, paranoia, and apprehension come out in your art.
Jas: A lot of what I’m feeling at the time goes into my characters eyes. Our eyes are our souls, our perception-their the easiest thing to read on the human body in my opinion. It’s funny because when I was younger it used to make me anxious to make eye contact, now I feel empowered by it in different ways.
S: How does Japanimation influence your work?
Jas: I love anime and manga, Japanese artists are undeniably some of the most daring and intricate artists- their history, mythology, and culture overall is just very profound and I appreciate how it evolves in a lot of artists’ work. My grandma used to always take me and my cousin to the library when we were younger, I used to be infatuated with manga- I would draw the monsters, the nice tits, the big eyes, of course, being older, I developed a more keen appreciation [lol] .…but it started from early in childhood.
S: How would you describe your art?
Jas: My art is experimental, freaky, stupid, daring. It speaks a language of its own. I use my art to further realize who I am. Who we all are. And I hope I can help someone be brave about the shit that they love…or they don’t love. We’re here to be imperfect and learn from each other—we can only try to understand, and that’s what my art is about.
The Clarion Content has been following Solomon Burnette since his 2011 City Council campaign. A Durham native son made good, he is a graduate of North Carolina Central University with BA in European History.