Fans of fantasy artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith are never disappointed; her gallery is as varied as it is beautiful. Though known most widely for her “Big-eyed” Fairies, it’s clear from her body of work that Jasmine’s talent is nearly universal. Included with her Fairy art is an array of subjects that surprise and delight any first-time viewer. From Queen Elizabeth to Alice in Wonderland, Jasmine explores every avenue in her artistic journey.
Peter Stone was so impressed with the expressiveness of her work that creating a line of Jasmine Becket-Griffith Fairy jewelry was a natural decision. Now, Peter Stone is bringing you the story of inspiration behind the artist.
From the Very Beginning
Jasmine was interested in art from day one. As a child, her bookshelves were filled with beautifully illustrated children’s stories and fairy tales, and those pictures were, indeed, worth a thousand words. She credits Grimm’s Fairytales, Wind in the Willows, and (no surprise) Alice in Wonderland as a few of the books that sparked her interest in art and fantasy.
At the ripe old age of 12, Jasmine was captivated by the illustrations on the cover of a Dragonlance book she received as a birthday present, and she began to see art more as a career possibility than as a hobby. By the time she graduated high school, she was selling her art on the web and over the next few years expanded to selling on EBay, as well. Through college, she was inexhaustible, taking a full course load, working as a waitress to pay her bills, and still painting at a feverish pace, often choosing to paint instead of sleep.
At 22, her energy paid off. Jasmine was able to “quit her day job” and make painting her top priority. Her “empire” includes an EBay business where she sells small paintings, her website, www.strangeling.com, where you can get prints of her work, a huge number of commercial contracts with companies such as the Bradford Exchange, Peter Stone, the Hamilton Collection, and Disney. Books, Jewelry, Tattoo Flash, Clothing, Figurines, Stickers…you name it, she’s got it.
Jasmine diagnoses herself with having an overactive imagination (either that, or it’s her “general dissatisfaction with much of the mundane world.”) and explains why fantasy is so prevalent in her work:
“Sometimes it’s addicting – I just can’t paint a girl – I have to add wings. I can’t just paint a still life – I have to put a tiny mermaid in there. I can’t paint a landscape without sneaking in a dragon. Basically (even though I include a lot of realism in my work) I paint the world how I’d like it to look, rather than how it actually does look.”
What is perhaps most surprising about Jasmine’s art is the extreme variation among elements that she includes in each piece. While one fairy is cuddling a pair of realistic ferrets, the next one is garbed to resemble Queen Elizabeth. Some are perched atop carousel horses, and one is sprawled across a mossy burial mound filled with skeletal animal remains, while others cavort with butterflies. How does a pair of ferrets end up in a fairy painting, you ask? Jasmine absorbs inspiration from her environment and pours it out onto the canvas: she had a pet ferret growing up, and her husband’s family rescues ferrets. Many of the recurring themes in her work spring directly from her personal life, making each painting an obscure glimpse into the inner workings of Jasmine’s world.
Variety may be the spice of life, but Jasmine admits to having some favorite themes. Fairytales bring back the feel of childhood, and have a universal appeal. Darker themes resonate with Jasmine’s contemporary gothic sensibilities, and Steampunk (a peculiar but powerful mix of fantasy and machinery) embraces two of Jasmine’s loves: Victoriana and Science. Mermaids and water themes mirror Jasmine’s love of the beach, and animals are a staple in much of her art.
Jasmine’s description of how she paints may seem surprising to some, but any fans that have artistic tendencies will recognize the “zone” she describes. In past generations, artists and poets spoke of the Muses and recounted experiences of being a vessel through which the art was revealed, not the source of the art itself. Perhaps Jasmine has tapped into that font of creativity; in her own words, her hands seem to “paint by themselves.”
“I almost don’t look at the canvas while I paint. It’s some sort of “zone” or almost a trancelike thing for me – I’ll begin with the painting pretty much laid out in my head, or the idea of it at least, and then my hands just start slapping down paint. I typically listen to music or audio books while I paint, so my conscious mind is usually absorbed with that, while my body sits there and paints. I’ll sometimes stop for a moment, look down at my desk, and be surprised at how far along the painting has come, without me even paying attention! Mostly in the end they look like I envisioned, usually better!”
One of the most striking things about Jasmine is the effort she expends to stay connected to her fan base. The concept of the fans creating the fame is a common one, and countless artists and performers proffer gratitude to their audience. Jasmine, however, seems to take that gratitude a step farther, reaching out through her website, appearing at conventions and art shows, participating in online social networks and welcoming fan photos and comments in various venues. This approachability creates a strong bond between the artist and the audience, and Jasmine “relies on their encouragement and support-emotional and personal, not just financial!” She speaks glowingly of her fans, saying they are “some of the best people I could know and I think the world of them.”
Art as Jewelry
Peter Stone and Jasmine teamed up to create a line of jewelry from her expressive “big-eyed” fairies and the line became a beautiful testament to her talent. With designs ranging from whimsical and cute to Goth and “devilish” her jewelry is as expressive as her art. Jasmine is excited about her jewelry line because it allows fans to carry it around with them all the time, making it easy to enjoy her artwork on a daily basis.
“Having one of my pendants not only makes it a little more fun to go through the day, glancing down at your little friend, but also can brighten the day for others around you. I know I’d be more likely to smile at somebody or strike up a conversation if I noticed they had a darling little mermaid hanging around their neck!… It’s a wonderful way to show a bit of your personality without ever having to say a word.”
Her favorite piece is the Glistening Mermaid pendant, because “she has such a delicate shape and sense of whimsy about her. I also love the little hint of color on her tail.”
With new merchandise being revealed every day, a couple of book projects in the works, and several convention appearances on her agenda, the Jasmine Becket-Griffith empire is growing at a phenomenal rate, but Jasmine’s focus is still on her painting. She admits to having “over a thousand” ideas written on her “to paint” list, and can’t wait to get through them all. She alludes to something new in the future, impishly teasing us with hints of “something I’m VERY excited about but can’t disclose yet – so you’ll have to stay tuned!”
Fans who want to “stay tuned” can do so by visiting Jasmine’s website, www.strangeling.com, where additional links are provided to her EBay, Facebook, and journal pages.