Five Minutes with Jasmine Mercer

Jasmine Mercer reflects on her favourite sale, working with clients, and art as commentary on society.

Jasmine Mercer explores a myriad of techniques and art styles, ranging from Fine Art to children’s book Illustrations, her work is detailed, beautiful, and dreamlike.

What is your inspiration when creating art?

I enjoy exploring how people develop their sense of identity and form their sense of self. I explore the boundaries of how far we have come regarding accepted qualities within genders provides another area or interest.

For example: femininity and masculinity still trump qualities of one gender or another, where others could be equally valued. Advertising is an insightful mirror into what is deemed admirable and I seek to present subtle alternatives to question these deeply ingrained norms. Multiculturalism is yet another area that fuels my work; being mixed race English/Iranian. Living and growing up in the UK I enjoy discovering aspects of cultural variance and similarity.

What has been your most memorable sale?

My most notable sale was a commission for a large canvas (A1), celebrating the birth of the couple’s first child. The canvas was a present from the husband to his wife. It was to include where they met: San Francisco, got engaged: Sydney, sailing with turtles in the Seychelles and elements from a song by their favourite band. One of the lines was ‘All I Want Is Another Zebra!’  This was notable because it was a huge challenge. I am extremely happy with the straight forward portrait commissions which just involve me going about portraying the sitter(s) in a way which most suits their personalities and stories.  The pressure was on as it was a surprise gift, I was to present it in person and was concerned about what the new mother would think of her husband’s extravagance. Thankfully all went well and the bubbles flowed!

What is your creative process like?

My creative process involves quick observational drawings of my subjects, with longer studies to really get a feel for them and what makes them what or who they are. I feel this is a responsibility and a privilege. Pastels, pencils, paint and pen & ink are favourite mediums. My process also involves considering how I experience my subjects through all the five senses, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the specific subject.

How has your practice changed over the last six months?

Clients were still buying from the websites of galleries I have work with and one client contacted a gallery about a piece they had seen in the window during lockdown, but things have undoubtedly been slower.  This has prompted me to research different revenue streams from my work. I have also been looking into creating further sales channels online and have found Instagram helpful.

The most rewarding part of being an artist is to be able to really get to know a subject and to find all there is to value in it/them. Plus when clients absolutely love what you do and you realise they are getting deeply involved in it gives immense pleasure.