Jasmine Atay and the Art of Printmaking

Being an artist and a designer can often be challenging. Jasmine Atay, this week’s new artist addition, creates a careful balance between the two. In this post, you’ll learn about her inspiration, process and challenges.  

Can you describe your typical artistic journey – from inspiration to work process?

When it comes to paintings, portraits are a big source of inspiration for me. Whether it’s someone’s soulful eyes, the wrinkles around their eyes, or dimple on the left side of their face, I love being able to capture that individual’s essence. I find travel portraits are the best. With everything being new, you tend to pay more attention to a place and its people than you would at home. Some of my favourite portrait artists are Rembrandt and Francoise Nielly.

If it’s not portraits, I draw inspiration from architecture, quotes, and science. There is a symmetry in all of those things that speak to my little designer heart that calls for order, straight lines, and pattern. It’s a bit of a contradiction when you look at my paintings vs. print work but I like experimenting with different styles.

My work process often begins with a word brainstorm. From there, I narrow in on a word that resonates with me and begins building on a body of work around that word or theme. Sometimes, my process is inspired by hanging out with other artists or going on walks. If I’m aiming for a certain look I’ll experiment on newsprint or in my sketchbook till I have solidified that concept. From there the magic happens.

How would you describe your style and how has it evolved?

My style can be varied depending on what medium I’m working with. Lately, I’ve been working on printmaking, specifically letterpress and silkscreen. As a result, my style comes across as simple, graphic, and clean. I’m always experimenting so in a year or so that style might change.

My art has evolved in subject matter and technical skill. I tend to be a bit more purposeful with what I’m creating these days, whereas in the past I would play with whatever comes to mind. Further, I’m always trying to think of new ways of incorporating whatever new skill, be it printmaking, oil painting, or graphic design into one piece.

What is your most important tool in your studio and why?

My sketchbook. No contest. It is helpful in capturing my brainstorms without the expectation that the idea has to be perfect or near completion. In other words, my sketchbook is my safe zone where ideas are born and some wait to be realized.

What is one challenge you face as an artist and how do you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I face as an artist is not chasing shiny objects. I love experimenting and it’s easy to start a new medium before refining your skills in another. I sometimes struggle with this and make up for it by dedicating a year to learning a medium. Often that means taking up classes or starting collective sessions with other artists to keep me accountable.

We like to wrap up each of these posts with a personal question. Can you share with the readers a recent awkward experience you encountered?

Recently, I greeted someone I was sure I had met before only to very quickly realize I hadn’t and it was just one of their self-portraits I had seen online. On one hand it was embarrassing on the other, it was a happy reminder of the power of art! 

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