A riot of colour with Jasmine Mansbridge
A newcomer to fenton & fenton, Hamilton based artist Jasmine Mansbridge has the shop brimming with colour with a selection of her latest works. Her bold, geometric contemporary paintings are alive with vivid colour and energy and are a testament to her seriously fun personality.
Not only is Jasmine a successful artist and published author, she is also a mother of five! Her nomadic early childhood years were spent in Katherine in the Northern Territory, which heavily influenced her creative endeavours and her decision to start a career as an artist.
Jasmine says 'that since childhood I was drawn to architectural forms, geometric shapes and structured patterns’ which is certainly evident in her stunning new collection. Jasmine inspires us with stories about her own personal art collection, inspirations and the best advice she was given when she started out.
What did you want to do when you were a child?
My dreams of adulthood were pretty close to what I have now actually. If I had had a traditional career path though, I would have studied Architecture as it has always been fascinating to me. I had my first child when I was young, I left school early and at the same time, I started to paint because I needed somewhere to send my energy. Isn’t it funny how life turns out?
How did you break into the world of art?
I honestly don’t think I have done that quite yet, but I am very grateful for the audience and the support I have now and for how far I have come. I have little formal training and it has been many years of consistently painting and working hard to get to the point I am at now! My motto has long been that if there is an open door, or an opportunity to just go for it 100 percent. This attitude has led to one good thing after another for me.
Who bought your first piece of art and what was it?
The first painting I sold to someone I didn’t know was a painting titled “Wild Territory Romance”. It had been exhibited at an art award “The Katherine Prize” , that was around seventeen years ago! It was to a lady called Lou Berry and it was for $600. I was a young single mum at the time and I saw then that painting could save more than just my sanity, but also help pay my bills. I remember Lou’s name because she has become a collector now and has a number of my paintings. (If you are reading this Lou, thank you!).
What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting out?
To not expect any success before I was forty! That you don’t choose to be a painter, it chooses you and to be very careful what advice you take from others!
What inspires and motivates you to create every day?
I love the process of painting and I have so, so many ideas I want to try and so many things I want to say. Every painting is different and has its own puzzle of colour and form, so I am always challenged.
What’s your creative process in producing a piece of art or body of works?
I work around a busy family schedule, so I have to largely work to routine, which I always rail against! I work during the day a couple of days a week and then most nights somewhere between eight till midnight. My husband is very supportive and we have become pretty good at dividing up the home front labour.
How do you decide what medium/s to create with?
I have experimented with other mediums but find acrylic paint hard to beat. I paint on linen or board depending on what's on hand really.
Where do you paint?
I have an amazing studio in my backyard, which means I can be quite productive as I only have a ten-metre “commute”. It is a nice place to work, especially after years spent painting in bedrooms and at kitchen tables.
How do you think your art has evolved or changed over time?
I lived in Katherine in the Northern Territory for twelve years as a young person (I left when I was 26). Looking back, I realise I was quite influenced by the Aboriginal artists I knew there. Their use of fine line and detail and their commitment to storytelling and connection in their paintings, also the way they incorporated painting into day to day life, are all now important aspects in my own work. Stylistically my paintings have gone through many changes, but these underpinning qualities in my work remain the same.
What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
I just show up and do the work, inspiration comes and goes, but the work is always there to keep me going through those flat phases. If I am feeling uninspired, it is usually because I am just too tired.
Name an artist, past or present, whom you admire?
I have listened to Patti Smith’s “advice to the young” on youtube many times. She has a great outlook on the artistic life. You don’t always have to have an audience! Also Jeffrey Smart for his technical skill and achievements and Georgia O’Keeffe for bringing new ideas to the world. I also appreciate the paintings and the friendship of Melbourne artist Miranda Skozcek.
What was the first piece of art you ever bought?
A very clever painting by Sandra Eterovic.
What was your most recent art purchase?
A painting of Iceland by Sally Lee Anderson. (I have so many paintings I want to buy!)
What advice can you give our art buyers when choosing art for their home?
That “good” art will outlast your lounge (and probably even yourself), and so many other things in your home, so invest in art over other things! It is something that can be handed down to future generations. The paintings I grew up with were mostly by my Grandmother and I can still recall the familiar details of them when I close my eyes.
What do you do when you’re not producing art?
I have five children. The oldest two are at University now, and the younger ones are eight, six and three, so my family life keeps me pretty busy. The “selflessness” that parenting requires is a good balance to the “self-absorbedness” of painting! I have a big garden with chickens and we grow veggies and I like to cook. We also love to walk and stay in the nearby Grampians as often as we can. I also love a drop of some of the excellent local red, we live an hour from the Coonawarra region!
What’s something that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?
Take my family to Iceland and paint a mural in China.
Is there a standout moment in your art career that has really propelled you to keep doing what you love?
In 2013 I exhibited at the Art Expo New York in a solo booth. It was one of those “open doors” that I just went through. The Art Fair and just being in New York itself, was a huge learning curve and stimulating both on a personal and an artistic level. It was also a lot of fun!
Images via Danielle Thomas-One Day Collective