A&F Conversations: Jezreel Nathan, graphic designer and illustrator

Even though independent illustrator and graphic designer Jezreel Nathan was always drawn towards arts, feeling completely out of place during an Economics’ lecture in college triggered her the most to follow her journey wholeheartedly. Over the years, Jezreel has worked with various brands, while also creating a steady stream of stunning personal works. She feels that there is a seamless integration between her personal and commercial projects, each project inspiring the other. We speak to Jezreel about her creative process, among other things. Edited excerpts:

Jezreel Nathan

When was the moment you realized you wanted to be in the visual arts space?

I’ve been interested in art ever since I was a child. It’s what comes most naturally to me. If I wasn’t playing outdoors between homework assignments, I’d be drawing, painting, designing clothes or making blue prints of my dream house. From a very early age, I found it extremely fulfilling to know that I could create something from scratch, with my heart and my hands.

This desire to create grew with time, but once I was in college it became increasingly difficult to find the time to express myself artistically. The tipping point came when I was in an Economics’ lecture. I remember feeling frustrated and displaced and knew in my gut that I was meant to do something else with my life. A few days after that revelation, I applied to an arts college, and that’s how my fulltime journey in art began.

What have been some of the biggest highlights of your career so far?

One of the main highlights of my career was starting out as a freelancer. It’s been harrowing, unpredictable, exciting, and extremely rewarding. And I’ve grown to love the uncertainty.

It has taught me so much. I’ve learned to trust my own judgement while making creative decisions. I’ve learned to put my work out there fearlessly. It is a privilege to be able to really pour myself into what I do and be hands on at every stage of a project. I’ve also learnt the importance of the process, as it is here that I learn the most. And whatever the nature of the next project might be, there’s always something I can carry forward from my learning with the previous one.

Many of your works tend to have geometric patterns. And a lot of your stuff has a very whimsical feel to it. Could you tell us about your work style?

I don’t like to stick to one style because it’s stifling and boring, and it’s just not me. When I create personal art, style is always driven by emotion and my state of mind in that moment, and every emotion then inspires a different style. Commissioned projects are also extremely personal to me because I’m fortunate to have clients who trust me fully and allow me complete creative freedom. So it no longer feels like I’m working for someone else, and this is what I love most about what I do.

Skitty
O Positive 2

 

It is a privilege to be able to really pour myself into what I do and be hands on at every stage of a project.

You also work with different mediums like illustration, graphic design, animation, etc. Is there something in particular you enjoy the most?

I have the least experience with animation. It’s a skill I would love to master.

Could you pick up a specific artwork from your works featured on Art & Found and tell us about its making?

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: This piece is very close to my heart and is the second from a series of three paintings that I made inspired by the lyrics of Christian worship music. This piece was inspired by the Christmas hymn ‘Noel’ by Chris Tomlin. It proclaims the sovereignty of God, announcing the birth and purpose of Christ.

I think more than being an inspiration, the deeper messages in these hymns speak and minister to me right where I’m at in a particular season of my life. When inspired by worship music, I play a hymn repeatedly and paint in response to how it makes me feel.

The real art though is the shift that takes place inside me. It’s as if the words and melody wash over my soul and I am transformed in the process of creation, giving this piece of art a whole new meaning and purpose.

I’ve learnt that no matter what the source of inspiration is, in my attempt to create art, it creates me.

Light of the World

Who are the artists around the world that you really admire?

Anselm Kiefer, Yohji Yamamoto, Yayoi Kusama, William Klein, Mark Rothko, and McBess, to name a few.

Lastly, could you tell us about some of the projects you are working on right now?

I’m currently working on a few illustrative posters. Poster commissions continue to be my favourite. I’m also working with a couple of fashion brands, creating identities and illustration, and then of course, there’s a list of personal projects that I keep revisiting.

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I’ve learnt that no matter what the source of inspiration is, in my attempt to create art, it creates me.

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