Jasmine Jan - Australian Artist, Darwin NT
Video courtesy of ABC Library
"Wildwater - Coloured" Dust Exhibition opening, interview with Jasmine Jan showing Jasmine working in her home studio on her property at Lambell's
Born in Darwin, 1968 Jasmine Jan is essentially a self-taught artist. From a very young age an interest in wildlife and art was nurtured and encouraged by her family and extended family. After a brief stint in Melbourne studying towards a graphic design degree she realised that the weather and lifestyle of Darwin offered much more.
Jasmine returned to Darwin to study Science and began working as a Trainee Technical officer in the Natural Sciences division at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT. Upon completion of her traineeship Jasmine successfully won a position as a zookeeper at the Territory Wildlife Park working in the Aquarium. Jasmine has worked at the TWP for the last 16 years in a variety of roles. The main advantage to her art career has been the constant source of inspiration from the plants and animals that formed part of her office furniture.
Jasmine’s artwork features plants and animals of Northern Australia a subject that she has developed an intimate understanding of through her work at the Museum and Wildlife Park.
A Territorian (Australian born Chinese) her most recent works produced in watercolour have a distinct East-West fusion style. Jasmine has combined western watercolour painting techniques with eastern brush painting techniques to produce her own unique style of watercolour. A red chop mark on each painting is her unique signature and denotes her Chinese heritage. The subject matter is very Territorian which adds to the uniqueness of her works as there are very few artists who are painting the flora and fauna of northern Australia in this medium.
“Of all the mediums that I have worked with watercolour has had the most profound effect on me as an artist. The requirement for careful planning and draftsmanship combined with the unpredictability of this medium can be both exhilarating and daunting.
There is a certain level of control that you can have but the magic in each painting comes from that moment when I have to let the pigments and water do their stuff.
Working with watercolour can be likened to riding an educated Thoroughbred horse…..the magic comes from harnessing its spirit not controlling it completely. That is the magic of the beast, which is watercolour”.
Training and awards
Jasmine has won a number of awards and scholarships that have assisted her in travelling over to the United States on three separate occasions to train with leading scientific and wildlife illustrators from all over the country. As a result of this intense technical training Jasmine has achieved a high level of technical skill in a number of mediums ranging from graphite, coloured pencil, chalk pastel, watercolour and printmaking.
Not satisfied with just furthering her own skills Jasmine has also passed on her skills and knowledge. She has run numerous weekend workshops and also taught at the adult night classes at Casuarina Adult Night School. Jasmine has delivered this training in the same format that she received while she was in the United States where sharing of knowledge and techniques has not been hampered by protecting trade secrets or professional jealousy. Jasmine has been invited on numerous occasions to teach specialist art classes to a number of High schools and Primary schools in Darwin. She has also lectured as a guest lecturer at the Charles Darwin University to architectural and design students.