A View From Jasmine Thompson
One year on, we've caught up with our SXSW2017 Apprentice Jasmine Thompson. Currently Jasmine is working as a freelance illustrator on work that ranges from murals to storyboards, political cartoons and live illustration. She was recently commissioned to create a mural at the Royal Shakespeare Company and is currently working on a book cover design brief.
So, one year on from SXSW17 – how’s life changed for you as a result?
So much has changed since March last year after I went to SXSW. I had one of my busiest years as an illustrator and had the opportunity to work with so many more clients and organisations. I continued making live sketch work like I did at SXSW, but also expanded my practise into other areas e.g. mural work and political cartoons. I have a lot more confidence in my abilities than the years before and am very comfortable working in the mediums I do now.
What were the three key things you took away from SXSW17?
SXSW was a great taster of how much is out there in terms of opportunities, work and the creative world in general. The main thing it did was open my eyes to some of this and allow me to explore it for a short period of time. It was incredible having that insight to the latest innovations in the design and tech industries which is something previously I had not been exposed to very often.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an artist but when I was young that term was loose and I didn’t know what it would look like. All I knew was I liked to draw and I was good at it too but it took until the last 5 years to really figure out what I can use my skills for and realise the kind of work I want to create. But I think that’s something that will always be changing.
What’s your proudest career achievement to date?
Probably my most recent mural commissioned by Royal Shakespeare Company at the theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. ‘Love As A Revolution’ explored seven different stories of love and revolution being entwined. It focussed on the people and movements through time that have opened up what love can look like, and have fought for the fight for us to love who we choose. It was the biggest piece I’ve ever created and took the most preparation to pull together. There was a message board for people to leave post-its in response to the mural and I genuinely only imagined there would be about 40 or 50. The mural came down Monday and by the end we think there were thousands.
If you weren’t doing this job now, what would you be doing?
That’s actually a really hard question! I’ve never imagined doing anything else or considered having a back up, this has always been the profession for me. Besides illustration the next best thing for me going through education was photography, so perhaps I would explore that. But generally, I keep quite active and enjoy training regularly, so perhaps something in that field otherwise.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’m actually at a point at the moment where I’m just focussing on what I’m doing in the present. I’m keeping very busy, which is great, but I’m also trying not to get too ahead of myself. The only set goals I have for 5 years time are regarding my skills - I plan on being able to animate by then, as well as being a strong digital artist. I also know I want to continue working in this industry, with organisations across the country on briefs that excite and challenge me. If I’m not being challenged I’m not improving.
Who do you most admire in business and why?
I’m not going to talk about any one person in particular, but generally just people who have started from very little or nothing at all, and have built and worked tirelessly to get to where they are. I admire determination and drive as much as I admire talent in a person, so I look up to people who have come a long way in their career, and are happy to throw the ladder back down for everyone else too.
What do you like to do to wind down?
I run a lot which helps clear my mind and shut off from everything for a little while. I set goals and try to achieve them but I don’t push myself like I do in my job. It’s just a really nice distraction for me. Besides that, catching up with friends also gives me the downtime I need.
What music are you listening to, and what is your guilty TV pleasure?
I’m still rinsing Anderson Paak’s ‘Malibu’ and Solange’s ‘A Seat At The Table’. They’re not necessarily new but they’re the only albums recently that I’ve been able to enjoy every single track, start to finish. They’re incredible. And as for a guilty TV pleasure- I don’t think I have one! I actually watch hardly any TV, Netflix documentaries are where it’s at for me.
Who are the two people you would most like to sit next to at dinner and why?
It’s so hard to narrow this down to two people, but I’d have to go with someone like Michelle Obama, and then Edwin Catmull or Alvy Ray Smith who founded Pixar. Or even Walt Disney himself, is that allowed?! I’d actually love to just have a conversation with someone like Michelle Obama, I think she’s incredible. As for the second, I mean how great would it be to sit next to Walt Disney and talk to him about illustration and character design whilst we drink and eat great food?
Mural commissioned by The RSC. Photo credit: F8 Photography