When I asked local artist Jasmine Co why she does what she does her response was simple: “Because it’s fun!” Originally from Carson City, Nevada, 24-year-old Jasmine moved up to Portland because of it’s progressive culture, opportunities, and nature. Her down to earth personality and pure love for what she does makes Jasmine a joy to encounter and definitely explains her success in the local art world. Growing up with her strict and culturally different parents working full time, she spent much of her day playing with her younger brother. A self-described “ridiculously rebellious teenager” Jasmine remembers her childhood as “feeling intense and heavy, yet curious and adventurous.” These themes are reflected throughout her art, which beautifully juxtaposes bright colors with geometric shapes, creating a feeling of whimsy and wonder for onlookers. Now as a RAW Artist, Jasmine is currently living in Portland and pursuing the opportunities to explore and create art in the City of Roses.
So, what first inspired you to get into art?
Myself! It just feels good to make art.
What type of artistic works do you do?
Mostly painting with acrylic/oil. Abstract, plants, animals, geometry, lot of colors.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
I don’t think of themes as much as I used to. Too much thinking got in the way. But I like the ideas of transformation, expansion, and wonder. When people view my work I want them to feel something beyond the mundane-ness of everyday life. Or whatever.
Do you have any formal education with art or are you all self-taught?
I took some classes in high school and college. I picked up a few tools, but I feel mostly self-taught. It’s not easy to teach something so subjective. Over the years my process has become much more intuitive and confident. Not caring so much about the final outcome.
At this point in your life, what inspires you?
At this time of my life, everything seems to be inspiring me. Mostly nature I guess. I’m noticing the beauty in things such as a piece of lettuce, random color combinations, and the sky every time I look up. Anywhere out in nature inspires me. The ocean is one of my favorite places.
What role do you think artists have in society?
I feel like someone can write a whole paper on this question. I think everyone is an artist in one form of another (culinary arts, healing arts, etc.). Artists are anybody who creates, which is everybody. So, society is made up of artists.
Where do you want your artistic career to go?
That’s a good question. This is the first year I’ve thought of painting as a way to make a living. I would like to be able to share my art with anyone who’s interested and to be supported in ways that allow me to continue to make art a big part of my life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Another good question. I don’t know. Life seems like it’s moving so fast and I’m never the same person I was yesterday. Making art still, living in the tiny home I helped build, teaching at a Waldorf school, connecting with spirit on a deeper level, successfully working for and living in a sustainable and thriving world.
How do the people in your life contribute to your work?
I love my friends and community. I’m maintaining a much more positive relationship with my parents. People and relationships are important and necessary to me. They contribute to me as a whole and therefore my work. In a more direct way, sometimes when I’m hurt and stirred emotionally by a particular person, it either results in emotional painting or the lack of motivation to make art. Unfortunately, it’s usually the latter.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could have any power, it would be the power to change the world overnight (or is that more a wish?). I just get so impatient sometimes with how slowly things are moving, especially with what’s at stake. Humanity is facing a very real crisis that requires a deep awakening and radical change in the way we live. Haha, sorry for turning a light-hearted question into something so serious. I would also be ok with the power to levitate objects so I don’t have to get up to grab my cup of tea right now.
What is your dream project?
Maybe a mural, possibly done in collaboration with others that powerfully embodies the collective evolution of humanity.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
In general, “Trust yourself”. In art, “Keep it up.”
Living in a place like Portland, I’m sure you’re constantly surrounded by others’ pieces of work. How do you make yourself stand out?
I don’t think I’m ever consciously trying to “stand out”. I feel like if I just make art from an authentic place, it comes out unique to myself. Always.
Jasmine currently works in Portland as a massage therapist and spends her spare time being a yogi, drinking smoothies, spending time with others, contemplating new ways of doing things, and “painting of course.” She plans on continuing her artistic career and her advice for other aspiring artists is as simple. Emulating the best advice she’s ever been given, in order to succeed as an artist Jasmine says to just, “trust yourself, and keep it up.”