Jasmin’s art explores the healing power of tears
For several months Jasmin Simons has been meeting with a group of artsy friends to create.
Some people in the collective are poets, some are visual artists; others are musicians.
“We don’t have a proper name or branding, but our group chats are called Mondays,” she said. “We meet in each other’s houses.”
She believes it has made them all a little more productive, because it has brought them some measure of accountability.
Before Mondays, much of her work ended up in a corner in her grandmother’s house where it was seen by few eyes.
This year she’s exhibited in three Bermuda Society of Arts shows. The latest, the summer member’s show Aesthetics 2023, is on now.
Electric Teardrops, one of three pieces she has on exhibit, depicts a girl in a blue bikini against a watery background made with an acrylic pour technique.
Ms Simons made the piece after her cat Spice died this year.
“She was a stray. When I found her she was wandering and scrawny, but she had the most beautiful greenish-bluish eyes. I had just lost a friend due to a road fatality and she became like an emotional support animal for me.”
They were together for a year-and-a-half.
“After she died I was out bad for a week,” Ms Simons said. “A lot of people underestimate what it is like to lose a pet.”
Electric Teardrops was the first piece she created after Spice’s death.
“I put some music on and did the pour while crying my heart out,” Ms Simons said. “I used blue paint, because blue is my favourite colour.”
“It was really an emotional time for me. Then one day my car broke down and I was stranded.”
While she waited for assistance she started drawing the girl that is now in the painting.
The completed piece brings her comfort. When the BSoA show ends on Tuesday she plans to hang Electric Teardrops in her bedroom.
“Art definitely heals,” she said. “It felt very good to see my feelings flow out onto that piece. It brought me a lot of peace completing it. Tears are not scary; they are necessary.”
Ms Simons loves to use a variety of media to create.
“I am playing with clay a lot right now,” she said. “It has been freeing to get my emotions out using my hands. I have mostly been making ashtrays for fun. I just want people to see my work and feel happier.”
Ms Simons previously ran Curves Bermuda, a plus-size lingerie business in Sandys, but closed it after the pandemic. Now she runs an Instagram-based art business, @ArtbyJas_.
“I do painting and photography on commission,” she said.
Last year she entered a series of four pieces in the Charman Prize run by Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.
She felt that while White men are frequently the subject of art, Black males are less frequently depicted.
“I really wanted to make a piece about Black boy joy,” she said. “I really wanted Black men to be able to see themselves in the art space and just also see themselves painted.”
She interviewed her friend, Josh, for weeks about what made him tick.
“He loves football, so I incorporated that into the piece,” she said. “He is just a vibrant person. It just felt good for those pieces to be in the show. Honestly, I didn't really care about the price or whether they sold.”
To her delight, however, she got a phone call from Rosewood Bermuda. Peter Cuneo, the former chief executive of Marvel Entertainment, was a guest at the resort and had been looking at the Charman Prize catalogue and chatting about it with Ms Simons’ mother, Xenia.
Mr Cuneo asked to see Ms Simons’ work in person. She took it to the hotel and made a successful pitch.
“It all happened really fast,” she said. “All four pieces are in his house now.”
Ms Simons has always loved painting and drawing. As a child her mother and father, Wendell Simons, allowed her to use the walls of their home as a canvas.
“They eventually realised we can’t keep putting her in trouble, because she’s gonna keep creating,” she laughed. “They have always been very supportive.”
She studied art at the Bermuda College before heading off to New York to study fashion merchandising at Lim College.
Aesthetics 2023 runs at the Bermuda Society of Arts until Tuesday. For more information visit bsoa.bm