Interview #31: Jasmin Javon (2023)
Jasmin Javon is an experimental macro-photographer who explores and studies the dynamic of fluids under various conditions in order to produce vivid and striking abstract artworks. She is driven by the infinite possibilities that the medium offers and by an inherited obsession for capturing the spontaneous beauty of meaningful moments. Through her artistic creations, she both reconnects and brings happiness to her inner child while forming a positive dialogue with the outside world.
Here is M. Solav’s interview with her:
M. SOLAV／What is the “origin story” that has led you to visual arts.
JASMIN JAVON／As a child, my grandmother would photograph everything, and that is no exaggeration. Growing up and witnessing that simple act made a deep and meaningful impact on me. Being able to relive our most cherished memories was something that brought us great joy as a family and it resonated with me. That’s where my obsession with photography began. I desperately tried to follow that dream by getting jobs at low paying portrait studios and even as a photographer at Disneyland. I was happy, but my pocketbook wasn’t. As life would have it, I lost my vision. I got a job at a dental office to pay the bills and put photography on the back burner for some time. I did odd jobs here and there, but nothing that really filled my soul.
Fast forward to 2021, when a medical procedure placed me on bed rest and I wasn’t able to get around very well for a few weeks. COVID was still preventing me from easily obtaining gainful employment, so I was home a lot around that time (as many were). I remember so vividly sitting on the couch with this feeling I can’t put into words. The best I can say to describe it was that I felt severely unsatisfied, under-stimulated and stagnant in my current state at the time. I finally asked myself something that had never really crossed my mind before: “would you be happy doing this for the rest of your life? If nothing changed in the next ten years, would you feel fulfilled?” The answer was no. Sure, I was good at my job, but that’s all it was: a job. It didn’t light me up everyday, it didn’t make me excited to get out of bed; it provided a paycheck and that’s all I had been focused on. I let myself forget that little girl who lit up when she had a camera in her hands. The girl who saw photos everywhere she looked. I thought to myself: what would happen if money wasn’t the ultimate goal? What would happen if I could actually wake up everyday and do something I love? How would my life look?
It didn’t take long for me to realize that photography had been where my heart was all along. Somewhere along my path, I had gotten it in my head that I wasn’t as good as the popular photographers I was following online — and to be honest, that kept me from pursuing my dreams for many years. I didn’t realize that what I needed to do was stay true to myself and to my own vision — not anyone else’s — and that in itself would take me places I’d never been. That day was the first time I’d ever explored the world of abstract macro-photography with simple oil and water pictures.
The rest is history. I began experimenting with different materials in my kitchen, bought a cheap macro lens for my cell phone and that act has led me to the artworks I make today. This reborn artistic stage in my life has given me the confidence to pursue my purpose and to go in the direction of what makes my soul happy.
MS／How would you summarize your artistic journey thus far?
JJ／Since I began my journey, I have see a beautiful response from sharing my artworks. Strangers worldwide have reached out to tell me that my art makes them happy, or even that they gave them inspiration to begin their own artistic journey. Honestly, those words mean the most to me — that I was able to inspire someone from simply following my heart and doing what I love.
Utilizing social media has been instrumental in reaching my audience, and it continues to be that. As an emerging artist, I have been featured on many online art profiles, including virtual and printed magazines, articles, and even on Nikons Z-Creators website. Most recently I was accepted to participate in my first exhibition at the ArtVenture in Costa Mesa. I find that the more confidence I gain and the more I trust myself enough to share my work, the more opportunities seem to find me. I am excited to see what more awaits me in the future.
MS／What’s led you to explore the specific subject of macro fluids? You are now quite known for this practice, but has there been other subjects previously that have led you to where you are now? How did you discover this approach?
JJ／My interest in the macro fluid world began with oil and water. I watched a Youtube video of a gentleman who was showing people different ways to be creative during the pandemic. He simply took a glass of water in a well lit room, placed it over a colorful image and took some really interesting pictures. I remember watching it on my laptop — and before the video was over, I was in my kitchen gathering things for my own photoshoot. I was drawn to it, I believe, because it was something I had never thought of before. It was something that was new and it allowed me to be incredibly creative and innovative in the way I went about taking these photos. There were no rules to it, and it was a lot of fun. I allowed myself to let go and create, which is something that was hard for me at first.
When I began my photography journey, I was enamored with landscapes and portraits. In fact, I still am! I will never look up at a beautiful sunset and not take a photo — it’s literally who I am. I love taking photos of people in the same way. When I see a precious moment, I can’t help but reach for my camera. I think that goes right back to my grandmother and her love for capturing moments so that they can be lived over and over again.
As I mentioned before, it all began with oil and water for my journey to abstract art. I eventually began experimenting with things like food coloring, vegetable glycerin, vaseline and other ingredients I found around the house to add some variety to my artwork. The shapes and colors I was able to create using this method captivated me and opened my eyes to more than I ever could imagine. It has allowed me to explore this realm of possibilities I hadn’t anticipated. This practice is a daily reminder for me that the only limit to creativity is the one we place on ourselves.
MS／How do you find new ways of being creative with your medium? What is the spark that gets you going?
JJ／Art is my therapy. Often, I create something because I know it puts me in a better mood. In other cases, an idea will arise throughout the day and I’ll write it down. These ideas could be different techniques that I hadn’t thought of before or color combinations I haven’t tried. I have a long list of notes that I make for myself and I just cross them out along the way as I experiment.
I also study methods I’ve used in the past and make small adjustments. For example, changing the temperature of the water I’m using for a certain shot or switching up the lighting. This has been a great way for me to compose new designs. I also find that meditation is very helpful when it comes to clearing my head which allows my mind allows my mind to slow down. I believe that opens the door to untapped creativity.
MS／What is the greatest challenge about what you do?
JJ／I can’t really speak on any challenges I face with this type of photography because the possibilities are endless when it comes to what I am able to create. If I had to pick something, I would say that the editing can be a bit time consuming, but that’s because I’m very particular when it comes to the editing process. I have a vision for each image I produce.
MS／What kind of feedback have you received for your work? How have people interpreted what you create?
JJ／I have recieved tons of positive feedback for my work! Many people have told me that my art makes them happy or it even inspires them to try out making their own versions of my work. I thoroughgly enjoy hearing that many different things can be seen when viewing my work. It gets your imagination going. I love that abstract art in general can be seen and interpreted in a lot of different ways. You can look at the same image multiple times and something new will pop up everytime. It’s always refreshing when someone tells me what they see in a picture and it’s completley different from what I see. I really enjoy hearing new perspectives.
MS／In a sense, what you are doing is an act of painting ephemeral artworks using fluids. It seems to be very minute and precise work, but involves the often unpredictable dynamic of fluids. Do you find those ephemeral and unpredictable aspects valuable in art and in daily life?
JJ／I find that whenever I concentrate too much on making something “perfect”, it doesn’t come together so easily for me. However, when I let go of that concept, I’m able to really unleash my creativity. I believe that in art as in life, we can’t be afraid of making mistakes. I know that this iseasier said than done, but how can we grow without trying new things to see what the possibilities are?
Over the years of doing this, I’ve learned to snap a photo very quickly because, as you mentioned, creating my work can be unpredictable, and a lot of what I capture is gone in a split second. I do enjoy that. Not only does it keep me on my toes, but it makes me feel as though it’s something meant for me to be witness to, meant for me to capture. I can attempt to recreate certain things, but the majority of my work cannot be duplicated because of the ephemeral element.
Being able to overcome the unpredictable aspects of art and life makes a person who they are. Life itself is a series of unpredictable moments. It’s up to the individual facing those moments to chose which direction to move in. I think choosing to move forward no matter what the scenario is most important. Just keep on moving!
MS／There has lately been a subtle shift in your work in that the presence of bubbles has given way to more dynamic and surprising forms. Is that a conscious change of direction, or simply a consequence of your spontaneous exploration?
JJ／That is a great question! Recently, I have been focused on bettering my approach when it comes to shooting in macro — that has been my biggest shift in direction as of late. I also made some adjustments to the lighting and positioning of the lighting. Changing those aspects were conscious decisions; however, in most cases, my abstract work is derived from spontaneous exploration. I continue to manipulate the methods I use everytime I shoot. Sometimes, I discover something new and other times, I don’t; but nothing is ever set in stone, because I feel like that would limit my creativity. This way I never get bored and it inspires me to keep trying new things.
MS／How closely do you feel like the aesthetics you present are related to your private life?
The aesthetics I present are a direct link to my essence. My imagination. My being. Everything I’ve shared thus far are pictures that spoke to me the moment I captured them. I try to follow my intuition and what speaks to my soul similarly in my private life. The last few years have guided me down a path of really listening to my heart and what brings me joy. As life would have it, we are always so focused on other things and often neglect ourselves. I made the choice to stay conscious about following those feelings of elation, because they keep me going down the right path. In this case, I’m talking about the path of my following my purpose. I believe we were all created to do something amazing in this life, and mine lives in the art I create.
MS／You title your images with single words that often convey a particular feeling that the image can inspire. Are there narratives at play in your mind as you observe your artworks? As you mentioned, the quality of abstract art is that any observer can complete the artwork with their own meaning. What kind of meaning do you perceive about your own art?
JJ／Typically, when I create a piece I really enjoy, I’ll instantly get some kind of feeling about it. I’ll stare at it for a while and I’ll take note of the words that come to mind or how it makes me feel. It really comes down to that when I select a title.
I would say the meaning of my art is about being in the present moment. Being mindful and cognizant of what’s in front of you. Many people have told me personally that looking at my art makes them happy (for example). That means, in the moment they’re viewing my work, they have let go of whatever stresses they had at the time and they have allowed a piece of art to alter their state of mind in a positive way. That means a lot to me. That’s one of the reasons why I continue to create art.
MS／Many people today struggle with our growing reliability on the internet. Have you ever found that online platforms sometimes take away some of the immediacy in the experience of art and relationships, or do you find that the intimacy in being able to privately scroll through pictures adds to the human connection? What is the takeaway from your experience with art on the internet so far? How do you envision the future in that regard?
JJ／You know, I find that the human connection can exist in more ways than one. In the last few years, everyone’s view of human connection has shifted and I believe people are using the internet to connect to others now more than ever before. All in all, my reliability of the internet in this regard does waiver. I’m not saying that it is beneficial in adding to the human connection, but I will say that it has been a favorable avenue for many artists to share their work with an audience who may not have been able to see it otherwise. The internet does aid in reaching a more broad scale of people, but I do wish that there were more intimate ways of showcasing art and the artist. Presenting your art to someone or to many should be a more in-depth experience than scrolling through an Instagram gallery, and I think a lot of information about the artistry gets lost this way.
As of late, my online art experience has been quite motivating, to say the least. I’m inspired everyday by watching other amazing artists do what they love and it really drives me to stay on my path. In the future, I really want to see a platform similar to Instagram, but more artist-focused. Something that is built solely for the emerging artist and works to help network and showcase the art properly. I want nothing more than to be a part of the evolution of such a space. In this age of social media, art deserves to have its own spotlight to shine in.
MS／You show remarkable consistency in how you present what you create — with multiple types of content, including reels, artworks with mockup decors, carousels of your experiments, and quotes from thinkers and artists. To be a successful artist, must one be a good entrepreneur?
JJ／I think it’s a good idea to have en entrepreneurial spirit as an artist. You never know what gifts lay dormant within you, and trying multiple avenues of creativity can’t be bad, in my opinion. I believe we were all born with God given talents, and it’s up to us to discover them. To do that, we must try our hands at all we can while we can. Becoming a successful anything is more about the belief that you can do it. After that’s mastered, you’re unstoppable.
MS／As a last question: what role has community played in your development? Who inspire you, and in what ways? How has art itself helped you engage with others?
JJ／The community element has really helped me grow in this space; it has helped me realize a confidence I had buried within myself. The artists who inspire me are from many different genres of art. I see inspiration in musicians, painters, photographers, illustrators, models… the list goes on! But one thing they all have in common is a recognition of their God-given talents, and the use of those talents to try and change the world in some way — their drive to keep going, to keep sharing… it’s admirable. In a world where criticism seems to be at an all-time high, it takes courage to boldly share a piece of your soul with a bunch of strangers.
Watching fellow artists succeed while walking in line with their purpose is beautiful to see. And I love engaging with other artists and hearing their origin stories. The how and the why of what they do. It’s so intriguing to me. Art has helped me gain a more in-depth perception of the artist versus the art alone.
MS／Before closing off, are there any future projects our audience and your followers should expect from you that you would like to share?
JJ／I do have a few projects I’m working on — thanks for asking! First, I’m diving into the publishing world with a series of coffee table-books that will open your mind with meaningful quotes and open your vision to abstract fine-art. I’m also brainstorming with an app developer to build a platform specifically for the emerging artists to connect them to their target audience.
Lastly, I simply would like to say thank you so very much for considering featuring my work on Hintology. I have been a follower for quite some time now and I am grateful to be seen. Thank you!
Jasmin Javon is an experimental macro-photographer who explores and studies the dynamic of fluids under various conditions in order to produce vivid and striking abstract artworks.
She is driven by the infinite possibilities that the medium offers and by an inherited obsession for capturing the spontaneous beauty of meaningful moments. Through her artistic creations, she both reconnects and brings happiness to her inner child while forming a positive dialogue with the outside world.
Interview by M. Solav.
Hintology is an abstract photography magazine project created in August 2020 which strives to create a community where every artists are given a chance to broadcast their voice, the aspiring just as much as the established. We are a small team of volunteers who rely on the passion and contributions of their community to help spread the beauty and diversity of abstract photography. If you share our vision of inclusiveness and inquisitiveness, you can make a difference by tagging your work with #Hintology on Instagram, or by following our page and joining our group on Facebook. If you appreciate our curative work and the interviews we conduct, please do consider donating via this link. All funds will serve to bring our digital content to the physical world.
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