Jasmine Bruce is a mindful, multi-faceted artist. She paints what many call “psychedelic art,” working with vivid explosions of color and deconstructed forms.
At age 23, Bruce recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in studio art and an emphasis on illustration from Grand Valley State University. Today, she’s painting live at festivals and working on commissions, among other projects. We talked with Bruce about what her art means to her and how it comes about.
What is your earliest memory of being an artist?
I’ve been doing art my whole life, since I was little. Me and my brother used to watch those PBS shows. I would always just do it for fun, and I never really sparked an interest until high school. Then I realized I was actually pretty decent and I just didn’t really see myself doing anything else.
My favorite classes in school were art class and math class, surprisingly. In high school, I was always doing DIY projects and I was obsessed with painting my nails with really elaborate designs.
What is your artistic process?
I do a lot of journaling. It helps me process my thoughts. A lot of stuff that I draw comes from my writing. I’ve always been more of a writer than someone with a big sketchbook full of drawings. I’m not sure why, that’s just how my brain works. Everybody’s different. I also listen to a lot of podcasts that are based on mindfulness, because a lot of my work touches on inner struggles. I deal with a lot of depression and anxiety, so I try to research ways to deal with those emotions and be able to process. Now, I’m starting to learn how to use my art as a (form) of therapy and maybe let go of those feelings.
How does that play out for you?
I tend to stress myself out a lot, and sometimes the concept of making a piece or the pressure to have a certain style or way of doing things is actually a lot of pressure. When you’re getting out of school, it’s not like it comes from the professors or anything in particular, it’s just kind of this social pressure to have a certain way you draw so people recognize your work. I think for a long time it kind of stressed me out, creating a painting or drawing, and I am now finding — as I learn more about my process — that it’s an individual experience a lot of the time. It’s my own and I can make it my own, and it might be different from some other people. I’m finding therapy in that I don’t always have to like what I do, or maybe other people don’t have to like what I paint, and that relieves a lot of the pressure.
What kind of mediums do you use in your artwork?
A lot of my works are hybrids, random things my brain puts together that I’m still trying to make sense of. Sometimes it’s a painting and I’ll use acrylic. I like painting on wood a lot, it’s very natural. There’s something really raw about painting on wood. You can work with the wood grain and that inspires my painting a lot of the time, too.
A lot of times, I’ll start with a painting that’s traditional style and then I’ll scan it or take a picture, throw it on my computer. I’m super indecisive and I like to change colors a lot and when you’re painting, it’s exhausting to change the whole color. So I like to throw it in Photoshop and mess with the colors.
What does your art mean to you?
It’s a vehicle for translation. For me, it’s a way to connect inner turmoil and make sense of it and then being able to use that to maybe connect with other people and strangers and then help them connect to their own inner turmoils or passions and then be able to inspire or release what they want. It’s not just because it makes me feel better; it’s definitely for other people too.
I’ve always had this quote in my head: One of the biggest things you can do in life is participate, and if we’re not participating then what are we doing? A lot of people like to just do their thing and live their life and don’t really want you to know all about it, but I think it’s really important for us to share our stories, inspire each other and connect. I think without that connection, you kind of get lost.
What do you see in your future as an artist?
I have so many ideas. One day, I want to have a clothing line. That’s kind of in the works right now. I am just building my name as an artist, building my brand as Jasmine Bruce. And then being able to run my own studio or gallery space one day.
Left: Jasmine Bruce. Middle: Russ. Right: The Release.