In the latest instalment of our ONEOFTHE8 stories, we catch an hour to chat with Liverpool-based mural artist, Jazz Stan whose sunny disposition radiates through all of her work. Her paintings are abstract and playful, composed using a colour palette that has firmly consolidated the Jazz Stan signature style we have to come to know and love. Take one look at her Instagram page and you’ll note that even the food she eats and the clothes she wears are ‘on brand’ - the sign of an artist who truly lives and breathes what they do.
With bragging rights to an unbelievable talent and lifelong hobby which she has managed to nurture into a blossoming career she dubs “just bananas”, Jazz is an inspiration to us all - but we wanted to get to the bottom of what gets her cogs turning when faced with a blank canvas…
“It’s all been a bit of a fluke really”
The question on the lips of many of you right now will probably be: so, how did this incredible artist manage to turn her passion into a burgeoning business and such a distinctive creative brand? Sadly, it can’t be prescribed to a cookie-cutter business model that we could all copy and paste. It actually owes itself more to destiny, a series of life events and a whole heap of faith in positive affirmation and the universe’s greater plan for us all - or at least in Jazz’s opinion that is.
We suspect it might have something to do with her sheer talent and determination too but we’ll let the lady speak for herself…
“I have to pinch myself every day. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how this happened”, she tell us. When asked how she navigated the transformation from craft to career, she modestly laughs and proclaims that “it’s all been a bit of a fluke really”, which is testament to Jazz’s innate and lovable modesty.
It all really started after Jazz had completed her degree in fine art mixed media at the University of Westminster and decided to pursue a plan to become an art teacher. Unfortunately - or rather fortunately actually - she failed the mathematics test which was required for the PGCE she needed to be able to teach. This bittersweet curveball led her to selling customised prints and artwork via Etsy, saying “yes to everything”, becoming "really good at saving money” and telling herself constantly: “you’re going to make this happen!”.
A gutsy approach which soon snowballed to success via the power of social media, escalating those customised prints for people she knew to a profession which enabled her to: travel to Dubai to brand an entire salon in her handiwork; be one of a few artists selected to create a celebratory piece for Disney in honour of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday; and work with global household names like Instagram and Red Bull, as well as a portfolio of local clients, including an array of Liverpool bars and restaurants.
Just recently, Jazz has also launched a canvas collection (which is for sale via her website) and ventured into the world of domestic interior and exterior murals. In fact, just this month she completed a jaw-dropping floral masterpiece in our auntie’s back garden - a ONEOFTHE8 original you could call it!
“It’s abstract to me as well. It’s more like an instinct”
These days, art is so political. Painting, sculpture, video, architecture, fashion, photography, live theatre… whatever art form it may be, it is oftentimes laden with heavy social messages, comments on the state of the world and economics, or a communication of issues around controversial motifs like sex, race and gender, past, present and future.
Now don’t get me wrong, that’s important. It truly is. Art is an incredible language which to be fluent in is a real gift that should indeed be used for the greater good and making a change - or at least imparting a message. That said, it’s nice sometimes to stumble across artwork which isn’t shackled by struggle and for me, Jazz’s creations provide that refreshing palate cleanser we all need from time to time.
Throughout the conversation with Jazz, she touches on the fact that all artists are expected to be tortured in some way but for her, she works best when she’s “happy and content” - something we explore more a bit later. So, what is it then that's going through this rosy and radiant artist’s mind when she’s stood in front of blank canvas, paint brushes and spray cans in hand?
“I kind of just let my arm do the talking and use the movement to move the composition on”
When it comes to creating her masterpieces, it seems that there really isn’t that much method behind the marvellous, magical madness. When asked how she approaches a blank canvas, Jazz tells us: “it’s abstract to me as well, it’s more like an instinct” and how she just lets “[her] arm do the talking”, using “the movement to move the composition on”. It comes from the soul.
She reminisces about an outdoor mural in Manchester (pictured below) she created in typically British, terrible weather conditions with cold, wet paint tins slipping from her hands and the wind blowing her on the ladder that was propped up against the wall that was her canvas. The elements blew her so furiously in fact, that she used the involuntary movement to influence the outcome of the piece and the dynamic lines which it was eventually composed of.
“I feel like that’s the way the inside of my brain looks”
In order to delve a little deeper, we asked Jazz something which we like to ask all ONEOFTHE8 guests and that’s where they get their inspiration from - is it a book? A film? A geographical destination? - and what we tend to find is that most find their influence in other human beings. For Jazz, it’s Kristen Baker - an abstract painter based in New York, whose work Jazz first came across during a trip to The Saatchi Gallery during her art foundation studies.
Baker’s gigantic PVC panels were part of the famed Abstract America exhibition and depicted what Jazz describes to us as “landscapes with momentum” in fragmented shapes and clashing colours. What Jazz took away from this exhibition though ran much deeper than an infatuation with style or colour - she took away a desire to do great things, to create “an impression and a moment” through immersive artwork which cultivates an entire experience for its audience.
On the topic of inspiration, Jazz did also pay homage to her mother city of Liverpool to which she believes she would be nowhere without. Having spent a number of years down south during her studies, Jazz found that for her, things only really started to blossom when she came back up north. She received support and encouragement like no other and was quickly commissioned to create her first mural in this part of the country.
It was a large-scale piece for the Independent Liverpool lads at the popular Baltic Market - a project which Jazz believes is a pinnacle moment in propelling her to the success story she tells thus far.
“I don’t just want to paint canvases - I want to create environments, I want to create immersive artworks where it’s a moment”
It’s the positive energy of Liverpool that has such a firm grasp on her heart and for Jazz, to be happy and content is the only way she can create. During her chat with us over on the podcast, she talks about how sometimes, she can be so busy working on a piece that she doesn’t see another person for days at a time. All it takes though is a trip to the post office to send some prints off to customers and the conversation with the ladies in there which always ensues, with true Scouse hospitality, to put a “pep in her step” and give her the lift she needs to keep going.
So once again, here we are demonstrating the omnipotent force of human connection.
As a fellow believer in manifestation and having faith in what destiny has lined up for us, I too am in regular correspondence with the Universe. So hey, Universe, if you’re listening - keep doing what you’re doing for Jazz because as a fan, a follower and a friend from afar, there’s nothing I’d like more than to see this artist achieve her wildest dreams. I know the rest of the ONEOFTHE8 team - and everybody else who comes into contact with Jazz and her work - will be behind me on that one too.
To hear more about Jazz’s creative process, how the city of Liverpool provides lifelong influence throughout her work and how she transformed her craft into a career, tune into her episode on the ONEOFTHE8 podcast.