The motivations of Jasmine Crisp

Jasmine Crisp, artist | credit – Quyen Tran

Jasmine Crisp doesn’t mind being labelled a maximalist. In fact, when renowned fellow painter Andrew Salgado took notice of her ‘unbridled skill’ and ‘lush’ style, Jasmine was rightly exultant.

“I was in bed, watching Netflix, eating a whole block of chocolate. Halfway through it, I get these comments on my Instagram from [Andrew Salgado of art gallery] Beers London,” Jasmine begins. “To get such beautiful feedback from someone I believe in, saying the thing I believe in…I got up and had a big long jog,” Jasmine shares with a wide grin.

View this post on Instagram

This week we are posting figurative paintings submitted by followers. The fourth post of the week is work by Jasmine Crisp (@jasmine_crisp) and selected by gallery artist Andrew Salgado ( who says about his decision to include Crisp, ‘I am glad this made my cut and I almost didn’t include it only because there is SUCH a move toward anti-aesthetic and anti-technique recently, but I think painters who are so skillful can often be overlooked, and I think unbridled skill needs to be acknowledged. This painting is so maximalist, so lush, so seductive. I’m so curious about this artist. What a scene. What a statement!’ Work details: HE MATCHED THE LIDS, REMEMBERED WHEN THEY WERE KIDS (2020) Oil on Linen 110x110cm

A post shared by Beers London (@beerslondon) on

That’s the kind of support that motivates Jasmine in her work, too.

The pandemic has certainly thrown a spanner in the works for Jasmine, but she’s choosing to think positively. For one, she’s very aware how fortunate she is to continue working as a full-time artist. Something she says couldn’t be achieved without the support that presented itself within the chaos; pointing to one major act of support that has taken her to where she is now – the bursary she received from the Art Gallery of South Australia. 

Out of almost one hundred applications, she was one of the six successful recipients granted a $10,000 artist bursary for the express purpose of supporting artists experiencing hardship by the effects of the pandemic. 

“I was just stunned. My whole life was revolving around that Rockford [Hotel] mural at that time. I was very intensely working as hard as possible every day,” Jasmine explains. “It went from extremely high pace into everything cancelled. So for the first two weeks, I felt pretty lost.”

The disruption saw delays in her entire work schedule, which meant no cash flow. It also meant missing out on valuable art events such as Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair in Sydney. But those first two weeks were her only chance to rest and recoup. Since then, Jasmine’s been busier than ever. 

The ability to ‘just continue’ was Jasmine’s most valuable asset during the South Australian lockdown. With the bursary in place, she was able to do just that. It afforded her a studio to work from, which in turn, allowed for plenty of uninterrupted time to double down on deadlines for commissioned work.

More recently, she’s finished a wall mural for Seven Grounds, Brompton’s latest hub for coffee, and repainted the aforementioned Rockford Hotel mural, She Imagined Buttons. Meant to celebrate Sia as a musician from Adelaide, the repainting caused a bit of a stir in Adelaide’s public art realm last month. But whether it was misinterpretation or misgivings from Sia’s management, Jasmine maintains a tight-lipped smile over the matter. All we need to know is she’s very happy with the evolved mural. 

Based on the comments she’s received, the people of Adelaide have taken a liking to it, too.

“I had so many amazing messages from people I’ve never met. That was just so beautifully rewarding.” Jasmine concludes.

drone photography of She Imagined Buttons | photo credit – Ian Buckland

What could be more gratifying for a young artist than to receive such positive feedback? Perhaps it is the knowledge that you are evolving along with your artwork. For Jasmine, this is certainly the case. Just earlier this month, Jasmine left her graduate residency with Praxis Artspace in Bowden to take her place as a studio artist in the same premises. Though she didn’t have far to go, the move is indicative of Jasmine’s focus as a professional artist. “I am, as you say, adulting,” says Jasmine.

It is her first year as a full-time artist, which feels somewhat surprising. There’s something cerebral about Jasmine that makes you think she’s no longer an emerging artist, as though she’s been doing this for much longer than eight months.

Perhaps it’s because her maturity speaks loudly in her work. Every one of her paintings tells a story, inspired by her own personal experiences, and the relationships people have with their possessions. Her latest series is no exception. 

Currently on exhibition at Praxis Artspace for this year’s South Australian Living Artist Festival, Mum’s Out Bums Out is the prelude to a series of portraits which explores what Jasmine describes as ‘vulnerable comforts practiced at home’. After being harassed on public transport soon after returning from art residencies in Scandinavia, Jasmine was again reminded of her ‘female existence here in Australia’. Practicing nudity at home has helped Jasmine shed the shame she felt was associated with her body. The painting is a declaration of her right to be comfortable in her own skin.

“I wanted to explore how we, as the younger generation, are becoming more progressive in the same sense Scandinavia [is],” Jasmine contemplates. “How we personally feel, or respond, or act in our own private homes, with each other, or with trusted family or friends. How we perform the things we believe in. Even in a scary environment.”

They Shared the Same House, They Shared the Same Mother. Credit – Jasmine Crisp

Sharing narratives about identity and our relationship to objects has always been Jasmine’s central reason to paint. She’s not afraid to break some art rules to portray them either. She’s been criticised in the past for promoting too many things in her paintings to be of equal importance. But to Jasmine, objects say as much about a person as their facial expression. Most of her subjects choose what objects they wish to include in their portraits, which makes them unique and turn their characters into ‘something more perceivable’.

That’s why she doesn’t mind being labelled a maximalist. 

“I don’t care about the painting [itself], as much as what I’m trying to say with it,” Jasmine explains. “It’s just a tool, and obviously using your tool to a better degree will mean that you have a better outcome. But a pretty plain outcome is not as important as actually expressing character.”

Being unapologetically bold, and perhaps slightly rebellious, are some things that  impress on people about Jasmine the most. Be it her verdant style or the thought-provoking narratives she portrays, Jasmine continues to pursue her motivations without any timidity.

It’s no wonder that people, from admired peers like Salgado to the general public, find themselves intrigued by her artwork even if, like the Rockford Hotel mural, they are sometimes controversial.

“I think the most valuable art that you see, that you remember, is artwork that shares or describes the things that are usually unspoken in general life,” says Jasmine.

“I [am in] the beautiful position to do that.”

As part of SALA 2020, Jasmine is exhibiting ‘Mum’s Out Bums Out’ (2020) at Praxis Artspace until 21 August 2020, as part of the collective exhibition, On Being an Artist

Familiar Strangers exhibition at The Royal Adelaide Hospital’s Commercial Gallery also features her artwork ‘He matched the lids, remembered when they were kids’(2020).

Other artworks in Jasmine’s latest ‘Vulnerable Comforts’ series will also be featured in Gala Gallery in Rockhampton, Queensland, for the upcoming September exhibition, ‘Pop!.

Did you like this content? The Serenade Files invites you to leave a comment below