First off, I’d like to announce the winner of the copy of “Changeless” from the amazing Gail Carriger’s kickoff visit.
~*~ Drumroll Please~*~
The winner is
Congratulations! Danielle, please email me at suzannelazear @ hotmail so you can get your prize!
Now I’d like to welcome today’s visiting Lolita — artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith from www.strangeling.com. Visiting Lolita Jasmine will be giving away a signed print from h Steampunk gallery to one lucky poster.
Lolita Suzanne: Jasmine, thank you so much for helping us celebrate our birthday by being part of Steampunkapalooza. Your enchantingly beautiful art crosses into all sorts of genres and mediums, what made you decide to “go Steampunk?” (or was the Steampunk first?) Do you have plans for more Steampunk art? More Steampunk fairies perhaps? Maybe a Steampunk costume or doll?
Jasmine Becket-Griffith: I think I first started exploring steampunk about 4-5 years ago, when I was commissioned to do some illustrations for a rather steampunk-driven story. I’d previously been a fan of the neo-Victorian aesthetic, as well as historical fiction, gaslight, biomechanics, clockwork, adventure & exploration, etc. and I really think Steampunk incorporated a lot of my favourite things rather well! It’s as if I finally discovered a “word” that encompassed a lot of the things I liked!
Oh yes, I definitely plan on more Steampunk in the future. I have a couple of commissioned projects (including book illustrations and some concept art) that have rather a Steampunk flavour to them, so there are already several pieces lined up. I’m also exploring some of the other areas of my artwork (such as figurines, statues, etc.) with my more Steampunk-ish paintings & characters, as well as a possible animation project….
LS: Nice. More Steampunk is always a good thing as far as we’re concerned! On your website, your page “about Jasmine” says you like to read fantasy. We like fantasy, too. What stories and authors are your favorite? Have any particular stories/authors inspired your art? Do you read Urban Fantasy? Steampunk? Have you ever wanted to write fiction?
JBG: I do indeed! Actually since I paint so much of the time, I mostly listen to unabridged audio books. I read a little bit of everything – fantasy, horror, history, art history, hard science, science fiction, classics travelogues, you name it! If I were to name my favourite “Steampunk” author I’d have to go with Jules Verne – does he count? Other authors I really like are Susannah Clarke (hurry up and write more books, please!! I loved Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell!), Haruki Murakami (one of my all-time favourites, a Japanese surrealist), Anne Rice (hands down my favourite Vampire author), Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, oh – so many! I haven’t done much writing myself. Possibly because I have so many writers in my family and they’re all so good at it. I’ve just always been so immersed in the visual arts. I certainly appreciate reading the works of others though!
LS: Yes, Jules Verne counts, he and H.G. Welles are the forefathers of Steampunk. Where else do you get your inspiration? Where did the name “strangeling” come from?
JBG: Oh man, inspiration comes from all over! I travel a lot, and enjoy art history, museums, nature, music, movies, books, etc. – I think all if kind of comes in through my eyes or ears and then gets jumbled in my brain, and voila – inspiration hits! I have never had “artists block” – usually the opposite. I have to write down ideas of paintings all the time – I have this giant folder with between 1000-2000 paintings I have planned out. When it’s time to get out the brushes, I just pick which painting strikes me that day.
The name “Strangeling” was a nickname given to me by my husband Matt, back when I was in high school. He says it’s a combination of the words “strange” and “Changeling”, because back then (well, probably still to this day) I didn’t quite fit comfortably with my surroundings and always seemed like I was a bit odd. Back in 1997 when I was a senior in high school I decided to start a website to show off my paintings, and I decided to call it “Strangeling.com”.
LS: Your website mentions that you use reference photos for your art. Can you give us an insight to your creative process? Are your models in costume or have backgrounds? Also is there any particular reason why all your subjects are female?
JBG: Actually I very rarely use reference photos of people except for commissioned portraits for clients. For my own work, I’ve more given to painting out of my head, and when I need a pose or anything specific nowadays I just use a mirror. I don’t use models. Which could be why a lot of my paintings end up looking like me! I do, however, often take reference photos for non-humanoid things such as plants, flowers, animals, nature (like water, the ocean, etc.), interesting clouds, things like that. I keep a stack of photos I’ve taken that I find inspiring – or good examples of animals, etc. (I have a lot of photos of ferrets, my cats, etc. since I paint them a lot).
Hehe, I get asked that a lot – no, no specific reason. They’re not all female, but the overwhelming majority of them are. Probably some deep-seated psychological problem. Or maybe I just like painting girls (they are awfully pretty, after all!). I think that since while working I tend towards painting large eyes, makeup, swirling hair, elaborate costumes, mermaids, etc. – a lot of those things are more identified as being feminine, so they usually end up being girls. Also, many of them are self-portraits (however stylized or unintentional), and I’m a female, so there you go!
LS: That makes perfect sense to me! What are your favorite subjects? Faeries? Would you ever draw a ninja-faerie? Is there any subjects/genres that you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to? Your art ranges from dolls and costumes to your beautiful artwork–do you have a favorite medium?
JBG: Gosh, my favourite subject…. I’d say it changes so much depending on my mood, it’s hard to pinpoint. I like painting things I think are beautiful, or interesting, or things I’m obsessed/preoccupied with (such as dinosaurs, voodoo, the Rococo time period, Alice in Wonderland, wolves, deep-sea creatures, etc.). Mermaids & Faeries definitely. All of my original work is done in acrylic paints. I love acrylics because they dry fast and are water-soluble, and less toxic than oils. Mostly I paint on wood or masonite panels. I do think about new things a lot — I’d like to do more historically-influenced paintings, more culturally-diverse pieces, also focus more on adding more elements of realism (and surrealism) to my work. Hehe, no ninjas yet – but you never know!
As far as my other artist ventures – like statues, dolls, costumes, etc. – basically for those I do the concept pieces myself with my paintings, and then the companies that license & manufacture those products work with me on the rest. I don’t really sew much, so for example with the costumes they have the fabric people show me swatches and patterns and that type of thing, based on my paintings. I LOVE doing things like that – very much takes me out of my usual element of the 2-dimensional world of painting into the 3-dimensional “real world.”
LS: Could you tell us more about your partnership with Disney? That Tinkerbelle is awfully cute.
JBG: Well, I’m a huge Disney fan (I live right next door to Disney World, in the Disney-built town of Celebration, Florida), so I was very excited one morning to wake up to an email inquiry asking if I could create a Tinker Bell for them in my style! I had a lot of fun doing the concept art – being able to draw my big eyed girls and create an official Disney Tinker Bell! After all, she’s probably the first Fairy I knew by name as a child, and probably the most famous in the world. It was like painting a celebrity! Since then, I’ve got about a dozen co-branded Jasmine Becket-Griffith/Disney Tinker Bells now, and they’re all available as a collection of figurines that are so darling. It was kind of funny working on a specific well-known character like that because I wasn’t sure how far I could go with the design. For example originally I gave her kind of stripey tights & goth-y boots, but I had to re-do it because “Tink has to have slippers with big pom-poms on the toe” – very specific, hehe. I have some other Disney projects in the works now too…..can’t say too much, but it might involve…. Villains!
LS: Oooh, Villians. Now that sounds fun. Your books seem to be mostly “coffee-table” type books – would you ever be interested in doing a children’s book, a story book, a comic book, or graphic novel based on your characters?
JBG: So far I think since I’m just a painter, my books mostly just consist of well, paintings! However that is very much about to change. A graphic novel project is in the early works, as well as a book of short stories and also a novel I’ll be illustrating (which has a very Steampunk flair to it, by the way) – so I’m looking to that! Also I have not just one, but TWO tarot/oracle decks coming out, both by Lucy Cavendish & Blue Angel Publishing. The first is out next month and is called “The Oracle of Shadows and Light”, and the second will focus on my Vampire paintings (including many new vampire paintings commissioned specifically for the deck).
LS: Wow, I can’t wait to see the graphic novel and the book illustrations. Illustrations can add so much to a story. The tarot decks sound fun as well. Thank you so much for stopping by, hopefully you can drop by again sometime to share your latest projects with us. We really appreciate you taking the time.
JBG: By all means! Please do visit my website I have all of my upcoming shows, new art, merchandise stuff, etc. up there. In addition – I have a very active facebook fan page. I post there all day long often with work-in-progress photos of what I’m working on that day, new paintings, chatting with fans, other projects – come join me!
Okay, now for the important stuff…
One lucky poster will a signed print from her Steampunk gallery! (Steampunk Alice anyone?) All you have to do is leave a comment.
To earn an additional entry blog/tweet/facebook/post about Jasmine’s visit and the contest (but please don’t spam). To earn another entry join our facebook group or Jasmine’s facebook group (or two points for both, make sure to tell us — also, if you’re all ready a member let us know, you get points, too). Subscribing to the Steamed! blog also earns you a point (let us know you’ve subscribed, or if you’re all ready a subscriber).
The contest closes Friday, April 9th at 11:59 pm PST. Winner will be announced eventually…I mean on Monday, when we’ll have another fabulous guest, Aimee Stewart of Firefox Art.
On Thursday, April 8, author Jana Oliver will our visiting Lolita. On Saturday, April 10th we’ll be joined by The Royal Ladies’ & Gentle-mens’ Experimental Madness Society’s represented by Joseph CR Vourteque IV. On Sunday, April 11th TotusMel will be dropping by.