Spotlight #19: Jasmine Worth on her dark, surreal paintings

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Although I’m not a religious person I love religious art. Art is at its best when it tells a story, and religious lore has been a source of inspiration for artists for centuries. In contemporary art religion still is a much loved subject, even for artist without a religious background. Jasmine Worth is one of those artists who explores religious, iconic subjects and turns their stories into dark, surreals paintings. I asked Jasmine to share some insights on her work, favorite art and inspiration in this 19th edition of Spotlight. Enjoy!

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Bleaq: Hi! Could you introduce yourself and your work shortly?
JW:
Hi! My name is Jasmine Worth, I was born and raised in San Diego, CA, where I currently live and work. I guess you could call my work dark surrealism. I paint in oils and I love finding ornate vintage frames to house my pieces in.

If you had to tell somebody about your work and are only allowed to show one piece which one would you show and why?
JW:
That’s a tough one. I think I would probably show them my piece entitled “Dark Night of the Soul.” It’s for an upcoming show and it’s a newer piece that I’m really proud of.

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– ‘Dark Night of the Soul’

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Your recent work contains many religious elements. Can you tell about your fascination with religious and iconic objects and subjects?
JW:
I like the idea of taking religious imagery that is familiar and making it new again. I find images of strong women compelling, and I like to dismantle the virgin/whore dichotomy.

In May your show ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ will open in Last Rites Gallery in New York City. Can you give a small teaser of what we can expect from the show?
JW:
In this show I’m really focusing on the transformative aspect of suffering. The ability of someone to go through a traumatic event and come out the other end, maybe stronger, maybe wiser, or maybe just changed.

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What’s the best museum or gallery exhibition you ever been to, and why did you pick this one?
JW: Surprisingly, one of my favorite exhibitions was the “Painting Women” show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I went to Vegas for a quick trip and I stumbled on to this show there featuring some work by some really amazing artists that don’t often get the attention they deserve. It was a nice surprise!

If you could choose one artist for a collaboration (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
JW:
Hmm that’s so tough. I’m sure I’ll change my mind a thousand times, but right now I think it would be Bouguereau. His flesh tones are so beautiful, I would love to watch him paint.

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With social communities like Instagram, Facebook and Etsy around it’s almost impossible to not have an internet presence. How important is the internet for you as an artist?
JW:
I try not to get too wrapped up in social media, it does have its value and I think Instagram has been good to me. It’s sort of fun to see a social media site operate on an almost exclusively visual level, I like to see sneak-peaks and in-progress shots of works by artists I admire.

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Last but not least: can you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
JW:
Only Lovers Left Alive is a visually stunning film. I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson is always a favorite. I love to read, I think I would have to recommend anything by Karen Russell, she’s brilliant. Lately I’ve really been into the artwork of my friend Dan Quintana. Elizabeth Vigee-LeBrun has these beautiful faces on all of her pieces that are great, so I would say definitely check out her work.

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That’s all for today. Thanks to Jasmine for being so kind to tell a bit more about these beautiful pieces, and thank you all for reading. You can see more of Jasmine’s work on her website or Instagram, and buy prints in her Etsy shop. Have a nice weekend!

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