Jazz Stan on Being An Artist
You know that moment when you flick the telly on and automatically know that it’s David Attenborough by hearing his signature alluring tones? Or, the same way that you wouldn’t need Banksy to be stood next to his street art to know the master mind behind it? Well where I’m going with this, is that Jazz Stan has the same magic touch – no matter where you are, or the form the artwork takes, you know it’s a Jazz creation through her distinguishable approach of vibrancy and the uplifting nature that forever vibrates from the pieces.
Post studying fine art and mixed media at London’s Westminster, Jessica Arrowsmith Stanley had a realisation in that she shares her name with the best mate of Twilight’s Bella Swan. Looking to be a little less vampire fantasy and a little more standout artist, Jess “smushed” her name together to create Jazz Stan “so it would be easier to remember”. Now working on commission, Jazz makes and designs bespoke artwork for each one of her clients. Being open to ideas, this spectrum of creations spans from large-scale murals to company logos, with wedding stationery, custom-made illustrations and bar menus in between.
Naturally, being able to turn your hand to such a variety of tasks means that each day pans out very differently from the last, an aspect of being an artist that Jazz loves. So I ask – ‘what does your day-to-day look like?’ “My workday is normally more like 8am–1am” and is based from either the studio, a desk at home or on site. “When I’m not painting or drawing I try to respond to clients as quickly as I can or I’m on Pinterest or Instagram getting inspiration so my work pretty much consumes my whole day!”
Long hours can be demanding and we all have those little ‘pick me ups’ that aid our focus throughout the working day. Some people like to take a walk at lunchtime, others like to have an 11am Custard Cream… For Jazz, getting through paint orders and designs includes a good old-fashioned caffeine fix, with a helping of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ followed by ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’ – “I need all the sass to get me through”, when in the midst of a late-night paint shift. No worries of having any shortage of that with fierce Miss Ru Paul!
Filling your day designing and painting with a hot cup of jo’ in hand sounds like a dream to so many. I needed to know – how did Jazz get here? No person has ever gotten to their desired destination by slouching around in their comfort zone wrapped up in a crochet blanket. Pushing yourself out of the zone enables development and progression; an approach the artist applied to her professional life. “I think it’s partially by saying yes to things. I agree to do a job, no matter how daunting at first, then figure out how to do it afterwards.” Combining this opportunistic view with the consistent rise of social media and word of mouth recommendations, Jazz has been able to share her work far and wide in order to get where she is today.
Additionally, it is a piece of advice from a former tutor, Ian Murphy, that has helped in moulding the approach to ‘The Real Housewives’ lovers work. From an artist who was once attracted to small-scale monochromatic artwork, using only black and white, to now creating large-scale visions filled with colour and vibrancy, the tutor “encouraged me to not be afraid of people seeing my process”. Within this, he advised painting on a big canvas on the wall to “let my marks be free”. “I think that step and letting go of the fear of people seeing my work that wasn’t finished gave me the courage to get bigger and bigger”. Advice that not only visually developed Jazz’s artwork, but also how she is able to share it with others. “Now I can paint live and do murals with people watching and the Uncorked Production lads filming me, which, when I first started, I never imagined being comfortable with”.
Being in the position of making a living from your passion is a life goal for many in itself. Looking within that, I wanted to understand what professional and personal highlights Jazz Stan had accomplished over the past few years. She explained how last year saw the arrival of a number of exciting opportunities alongside her most challenging project to date; designing a building in Moorgate, London. “I hadn’t done anything like that before, nothing even slightly digitalised, and I managed to meet the super tight deadline and hand paint the designs in 6 days, followed by going to London to do two murals in a week”. As well as this momentous success, with residing and working in the creative Northern Powerhouse of Liverpool meant “another highlight was the absolute joy of painting lots of my favourite and landmarks of Liverpool in the Baltic Market mural and seeing that area explode overnight!”
Embracing all things creative can come with its challenges – one that can’t be ignored is being faced with creative blocks. Being that paintings are the only source of income, Jazz simply can’t afford for them to affect her work and powers through any mental brick wall to her creations. Finding that having a more specific brief for small-scale illustrations and projects, as well as having a reliable style and method in place ensures focus and direction, while still allowing flexibility to make new ideas a reality.
Barriers don’t stop at creative blocks, getting your brain into gear to be productive and motivated can be difficult – especially when you’re working solo. Providing top tips for fellow creatives addressing how to remain productive, Jazz’s recommends “the only book I’ve ever finished!”, called ‘Big Magic’. Not only one to add to the bookshelf, but one to take note of and implement daily. Just as Jazz does; “get yourself dressed for your ideas, put on lipstick, have a shower, make yourself feel good as your mindset will be in a better, more welcoming state for ideas”. And more specifically, “I found putting on colourful socks and trainers, not slippers, helps me get into a productive state when working from home”.
Success looks completely different to each individual, whether it be having financial freedom, creative fulfilment or simply leading a life that allows you to walk to work rather than drive. How to measure such a subjective vision can be difficult to decide upon, and for Jazz, is perhaps something that she hasn’t thought thoroughly about before. Reflecting on how far she has come, “I never imagined I would get to be an artist, never mind as my career, so all this is far beyond what I thought was possible for me”. Jazz adds “people contacting me because they like my work and it makes them happy is more success than I could wish for”.
“That and my big ass double door American style fridge I’ve always wanted, her name is Beverly”. A fridge with a namesake from Snoop Dogg’s Mum – love it.