6 min read

the art of mixed media

meet jasper rei, the va-based creator merging art, tech, and a lil rebellion
the art of mixed media

jasper rei, a non-traditional artist from richmond, va teaches us that art and creation can be accessible. mixing photography, ai, and layering in her art, jasper mostly uses free editing software, showing us that creation can be accessible. throughout our conversation we learn of jasper’s resourcefulness, inspiration, and aspirations as an artist. 

interview by: @sydneyia

art and imagery by: @jasperreitheartist

where are you from? how’d you get into art?

i'm from richmond and currently live here. i've been here for a while — richmond has a budding art community and i want to be a part of that as well as get more art circulated in the city where i'm from. 

what was your first experience in and around art?

i've been close to art from a young age. my mom had her own daycare so i could say it started with finger painting, but i truly developed my skills in high school. growing up my parents started collecting art from others artists. so seeing and appreciating art was part of our household. it wasn’t necessarily in the way of creating, but just supporting other artists.  

throughout high school i submitted work to a lot of county and regional art shows, and around 3 years ago i started to turn this into my profession. i recently released two public collections that did well locally as well as in d.c. and now i have a show coming up in brazil that i'm sending work down for. prior to this i was working behind the scenes, just getting it ready to share with the world.

how did you get into mixed media? what inspired you to start working in that space?

i'm such a nontraditional person and sort of a rebel in my day to day life, so i think it was only natural to incorporate a sense of newness into my practice. i love mixed media because i have an it and technical background, so it goes hand in hand. i can utilize all of my skills in my art which makes it more unique. 

there are some similar artists and similar styles, but it's still pretty rare, i enjoy that. i'm still not confident enough to put out my natural photography, so i like to incorporate that into mixed media.

do you use any specific tools to make your art? 

i work with protools, but i don't like to use it too often. i do a lot of photo manipulating locally just by editing photos and images on my computer, and then i use a lot of free tools, even editing on instagram. i’ll incorporate ai a little bit, just in layering and to create more detailed textures. i've paid for some premium things so i can get more in depth or have more control over what i'm doing, but not all too often.

honestly, that's why i tell people you can get into art even if you're not technical or have fine art skills, because so many free tools exist to help you explore your creativity. for some pieces, it'll start off on a sketchbook and then i'll bring it over to the digital side to enhance it. if i utilize ai in layers, it's just for time effectiveness because i layer so much and it takes a lot of time and using ai can cut down time spent although it's still pretty lengthy. 

do you prefer creating pieces that are animated / incorporate motion, or static pieces?

i like animated pieces more. i really enjoy crafting animations and utilizing aspects of cinematography. ultimately my goal is to do more art installations. so i’m building more relationships with venues and curators in various cities to do that.

what inspires you day to day? 

it varies. sometimes it's the people around me. i love music, so sometimes it's music. and if i'm out in the city or even in different parts of virginia, nature and landscapes speak to me. the mountains or the beach, etc.

sometimes it’s just a thought or a life question, and pursuing an answer reads like some sort of art piece, whether it's written like their poetry or taking a photo or just sketching out an idea.

what advice would you give to an aspiring creative who might be anxious to get started or share their work?

one, believe in yourself. i have been in that place where i think my art is cool, but will the world think it's cool? so just put it out there. someone will love it. also, when creating, you don't need to spend a lot of money to create. if you only have a pen and paper, you can utilize that to get an idea or concept out. and if you have a phone or any type of tech you can use that to enhance it, try it. there are a lot of free things that you can do that will make your art unique. so just create and share with the world someone will love it. 

is there anything new that you're working on? you mentioned an installation in brazil…

for that show, luckily i think everything that i need to do on my end is submitted. i'm just sharing a piece from, i had a collection from 2022 called “layers.” and a photo piece called “rva retrograde.” i have it on primitives as well! there's a show coming up in richmond called think small. you can only submit very small art pieces and i'm gathering art for that to send. 

lastly, i’m releasing an abstract collection. i created everything on paper first and i’m going through the process of digital and photo manipulation now. it's not quite ready yet. i’ll be posting the collection on primitives and i want to have some physical art out there too so i think i’ll have some of those circulating in this city. i have a show in dc, so they’ll be up there too. 

was primitives your first nft based platform, or did you have any other experience prior? 

primitives is my first venture into the space. i think the message inviting me to join confirmed my final decision to get on the platform. i really love how straightforward you all are. and you were all very thorough in explaining what you do. i did like how the team worked with people and artists as well as collectors to bridge the gap between the two.

right now i'm giving people the opportunity to collect for free until more features roll out. i think it's a great space to get your art out there to people that you wouldn't ordinarily come across. it is one of my first introductions. i think this is a great space to really learn a lot. and how it can work in how it does work and seeing that people genuinely are interested in my work in other spaces that i haven't been able to be in before.

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