By Nyesha Stone
Many of us were drawing by age the of six, but not many of us stuck with that talent into our adult years.
Jasmine West (Jazz West) is different because once she started drawing, she never stopped. West has been an artist since her younger days, and made it official when she became a professional artist in 2015. She went from doing live art at stylist, Vato Vergara’s Rooftop POP UP Fashion Show at the beginning of the month to hosting her own art classes—West always has a utensil in her hand ready to be used for art.
“When I’m creating art, I zone out,” said West. “I feel like I’m pouring my heart out on canvas or paper.” West was contacted by Near West Side Partners Inc. to host two art classes. The first class was held at JazzyRae’ Jewels and Accessories on Friday July 21. The second class was held the following night at the Urban Ecology Center, and both events had a $20 fee.
West’s art classes, along with other initiatives, were present for the Vliet Gallery Night. It was meant to revitalize the neighborhood with art and small business owners, as well as to give recognition to businesses that were still in the area. “I do love art whenever I have free time to do it,” said West. “Most of the time, I’ll catch an event or a live band night and start sketching/painting, with permission if needed.” Since some people aren’t artist, West provided the supplies, the knowledge and a good time. She had a variety of paint brushes, a white canvas, white paper plates, paint and a cup of water for each participant.
Her participants were excited to hear West speak about herself and her journey to artistry. The older women were more aggressive and demanded West to promote herself. This made her nervous, but it also made her open up to her audience more.
West and her group of amateur artists laughed, joked and painted until the session ended. She said she lived for these types of moments because she was creating art while helping others experience the same joy she felt doing art.
Live art is something that is dear to West’s heart. She remembers going to UWM’s Lyrical Sanctuary, a monthly open-mic for spoken word, artist, music and live art. The space inspired her to do something different. Along with each performance, artist, Ammar Nsoroma created live art to go along with whatever the participant on stage was saying, and West saw herself being that live artist.
The experience happened over ten years ago, and now West has developed her skills into something she’s proud of. She hopes that people that left her classes learned a few painting techniques, while also having had a great time creating with her.