Magazine Article by Sonya Unwin

Arts Editor – Resident Magazine
Dry Season Issue May 2006

Jasmine Jan -Artist, Illustrator, Teacher

Picture it if you will; 105 acres in Lambell’s Lagoon, no television, surrounded by natural bush, the sound of birds feeding in the trees and a beautiful vista across a 20 acre billabong studded with flowering waterlilies. Ample space to draw, paint and set up the etching press completely surrounded by inspiration. This is the studio of Jasmine Jan.

After gaining a Science Degree in 1994, achieving a traineeship at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory enabling her to do what she loves, scientific illustration, and be paid for it, one has to ask the question, could it get much better than this? Well, yes!

Her next move was to the Aquarium at the Territory Wildlife Park as a Zookeeper. Suddenly it was a living version of the museum that she had just come from and a whole new dimension of observing native animals in their natural habitat, which provided an unlimited supply of inspiration for her artwork.

Working in various media Jasmine is both a printmaker and an illustrator. She works with pastels, graphite, coloured pencil and is now proving to be master of the ethereal watercolour.

“When I work in watercolour it’s almost a ritualistic, and then a meditative approach. I love the contrast that is created using both bold and delicate colours. I love the contradiction of having to really plan a painting and then the unpredictability and spontaneity of effects that can be achieved. As a medium it is both beautiful and exciting to work with, something that I want to explore and develop further. I also feel that I have finally come into that space where I can say here is my own unique style of painting, this is me!”

Her environment and places of employ continue to be the source of her inspiration, “colours, patterns, textures and the effect of light and shadow get me thinking how would I translate that into a drawing or painting.”

Jasmine’s work takes us into the micro-environment where we can observe the details of a kingfisher, swim with the butterfly chelmons and gasp at the beauty in tropical vegetation. To use the well-chosen words of award-winning playwright, Stephen Carleton, Jasmine “has trowelled our littoral fringes – our mangroves, foreshores and estuaries – our billabongs and backyards to provide evidence of teeming beauty of which most of us are only peripherally aware”.

With her background in scientific illustration her middle ground in the wildlife arena and her foreground just underneath the brush loaded with pigment, Jasmine is host to an ocean of talent. With numerous awards and scholarships under her palette, Jasmine continues to be prolific and 2006 sees her second solo exhibition on show in July at Territory Colours, Knuckey Street, Darwin.

Search for her work, it is truly inspirational and a spectacular representation of the Northern Territory’s wildlife.