Friday, February 26, 2010
An Interview with Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Here at The Hamilton Collection, we recently had the opportunity to sit down with acclaimed artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith to learn more about the inspirations and passions behind her work. Widely regarded as one of the contemporary masters of fantasy art, she continues to attract adoring fans who love her paintings of wide-eyed fairies and mystical characters. Few may realize, though, just how accessible she really is. Driven to paint, she is also driven to respond to her growing fan base and prides herself on answering all of her fans’ emails. At shows, she can be found painting and stopping to talk to anyone who wants to talk to her about her work.
On this sunny afternoon in Florida—her home state—Jasmine is comfortably curled up in our lounge. Her friendly gaze is calm and puts everyone at ease. Dressed in jeans, sneakers and a fitted tie-dyed tee, her thin frame is set off by her alabaster skin and raven-black hair that flows long and loose, much like the hair on her fairies in her paintings. Sitting at her side is Matt, her devoted husband and manager.
Hamilton: What first inspired you to paint?
JBG: I started painting when I was little, about 4 years old. I was inspired by fairytale books as a child—Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Alice in Wonderland. At 5, I was going door-to-door to sell my paintings.
Hamilton: Where do you go now and what do you do to continue to be inspired?
JBG: I travel a lot—Asia for pop culture, Europe for history and classical elements. I like nature—hiking, nature trails—it’s relaxing and inspiring.
Hamilton: Fairies have been hot for a while now. Do you think this trend will continue? What do you see as the next big trend in fantasy art, and will you follow that trend or stay true to your fairies?
JBG: Fairies will always be popular. I think Fantasy and Science Fiction will always be popular. I see Steampunk gaining in popularity as well as mermaids. I also think we’ll see more fine arts and high fantasy with some classical influences.
Hamilton: How do you find the energy to paint as much as you do?
JBG: Painting is my favorite thing to do! I’m a passionate, compulsive painter. I feel incomplete without painting, and I never leave a painting unfinished. I paint a new painting each day.
Hamilton: A painting a day?! So, when it’s time for you to break away from painting and relax, where do you like to go? What do you like to do?
JBG: I love to travel, so I do that a lot—Europe, Mexico, Japan…I also love cruises. I love music, too.
Hamilton: Are there periods in history that fascinate you?
JBG: I’m fascinated by dinosaurs, prehistoric times. I am drawn to the Rococo era, too—the time of Marie Antoinette.
Hamilton: Are your fairies ever based on actual people? Are there people in your life that deeply inspire your work, and if they do, why?
JBG: Yes, family inspired me—my sisters, niece and nephews. I also do some private commissions, so those have their own inspirations. The history I have with people inspired me.
Hamilton: What are some of the things your fans tell you they most admire about your paintings?
JBG: Definitely the eyes. They also like the color palettes I’ve used, and they like the historical reference or the mythical story and elements I’ve chosen. They like the cute-yet-creepy dark feeling they get from my work. My fairies are tough.
Hamilton: Your fan base continues to grow, and your fans really love your work. So can you share with us the highest price ever paid for one of your original paintings?
JBG: A non-commissioned painting once sold for $5,100.00 on eBay.
Hamilton: Are you mostly self-taught or did you have formal training in painting?
JBG: I’m self-taught. I made money in college painting.
Hamilton: In your “Faces of Faeries” series, each fairy conveys such a different emotion. What was the inspiration behind this series and what are you trying to convey to admirers of your art?
JBG: This series allows me to experiment with faces and different ethnic looks. I’m also exploring different shapes—it’s fun and experimental.
Hamilton: On a more personal note, how did you meet your husband, Matt?
JBG: We met on the Internet while we were both in high school.
Hamilton: What are your top 5 favorite paintings you have created?
JBG: Marie Masquerade, Alice at the Spanish Court, Snow White and Animal Friends, Mermaid with the Golden Dragon, Befriending an Alligator, Dinosaur Friends—that one is of my imaginary friend as a child.
Hamilton: Will you share with us a typical day in the life of Jasmine Becket-Griffith?
JBG: I’m up at 6:00 a.m., and I work out. I shower, eat, and then I start painting. I break for lunch and I’m back to painting. I complete a painting each day, so when it’s done, I take time to scan my work and post it to my site. Then I have dinner with Matt, watch a movie and go to bed.
Hamilton: Let’s play a word association game. When we say a word, you say the first thing that comes to mind.
Fairy Tale: Snow White
Disney Character: Mr. Toad
Song: “Birdie Hop” by Syd Barrett
Hamilton: One last question, Jasmine…what is your favorite figurine inspired by your art?
JBG: I have a few favorites…the “Raven” figurine, the “Vampire” series, the Mermaid figurine and Alice.
Note: Some of Jasmine’s favorites have only been released on a very limited quantity! Stay tuned for future updates about these exciting new releases!
One thing is for sure—Jasmine is not only extremely talented, she is also hard-working and dedicated to her art. Finishing a painting each day, attending shows and giving her devoted fans lots of her attention keeps her busy. It’s what also endears her to so many. We think it’s the secret to her success!