Interview: Jayesh Joshi

new angel//1/3//new gods, 2016

Jayesh Joshi, creating under the alias Jayman, is deliciously unapologetic in his art. His upcoming collection, new gods, questions human relationships with the perception and idea of deities. Dash Majesty discusses the female body, playing god and Indian art culture with one of Bangalore’s finest.

Dash Majesty: For those who don’t know, please introduce yourself!

Jayman: Hi, I am Jayesh Joshi, you can call me Jayman. I am a visual artist, musician and animator from Bangalore, India. I am 21 years old and currently explore sex, gender and music through my art. I work a lot with human figures and feelings and I love hip hop.

DM: How do you find Bangalore’s art scene? Are you tempted to explore other areas of India?

J: Bangalore has one of the best design scenes in India and the scene is growing, with art stepping out of galleries, into the streets, cafes and homes. Also, the fact that Bangalore has a lot of art galleries and art and design colleges such as Srishti, NIFT and Chitrakala Parishath, contributes to an organic influx of art and artists.

new angel//1/3//new gods, 2017
new angel//1/3//new gods, 2017

DM: Your current collection questions the image of deities and places them in a new light. Are you worried about the type of reactions people will have to this?

J: I come from a modern Protestant family, I’ve studied in decent schools, been around good people (mostly) and haven’t experienced the absolute worst, or anything close to it. That being said, I’ve had struggles, I’ve faced a lot of problems and I always used to ask “God” to help me. From exams, girlfriends to family and death. I got no replies. My life remained the same until I took charge and stopped putting my faith in someone in the clouds. This relationship with God and religion and faith gave way to this series.

I believe that we’re all Gods. What I say to you has the power to impact your actions. We all influence each other. We remember what we hear and say and these things shape us into who we are. This amount of power is almost uncanny, but people don’t want to believe it. Hence, I came up with the new gods series to portray the normalisation of Gods while still trying to keep faith and power intact.

As for reactions, I am not worried about people reacting too strongly to it. My art comes from a personal space and I am very willing to sit and understand their part and talk to them about religion and Gods. I am very open to conversation.

DM: How has your creative practice developed over the past year?

J: It has become unapologetic and very personal. I’ve been drawing since before I could talk, this is something that comes naturally to me. Until recently, I drew to impress people and make people interested in me. Now, I draw for myself.

In the last year, I have grown skill-wise and treatment-wise mostly, my expressions have become more honest and blunt. Also, I’ve started reading poetry and meeting and making muses. So, I find constant inspiration to create.

DM: A great deal of your work seems to focus on the naked body. Why is this?

J: Honestly, working with skin began as a way to understand anatomy of the female body, as that was an area that I lacked skill in and wanted refinement. Now, as I went on working with skin and expressions, I have come to realise that skin and the body are one; the truest, literally, barest forms of expression. Although, I’ve moved on from skin to other mediums of expression, such as metaphors, treatment of colours and expression of feelings that don’t necessarily show.

DM: On a personal note, I adore your work नारी/female! Could you tell us the story behind this piece?

J: नारी/female, like many other pieces, started off as a study of form. As I went about it, I came to realise that women have an almost innate sense of sensuality and grace about them. The depiction of this woman is a translation of my understanding of sensuality. The colours used for her skin are often used to depict Gods in Hinduism and blatantly or not, I’ve tried to express a woman as an almost holy being.

नारी, 2015
नारी, 2015

DM: Do you have a muse?

J: I have way too many muses. Too many to list and too many to mention. Although, I feel muses are beautiful. I have fallen in love with some and still continue to love some. The power in their existence, to make you want to create more, and the fact that interactions paint pictures in my head that I can then translate into a piece of work is unbelievable. The way she smiled, how her hair felt on my skin, the music that was playing in my head at that moment are all examples of the kind of sensations that guide my choice in subject and colour for an artwork.

DM: melancholy// is such an intriguing work– what is the meaning behind this piece?

J: It’s a scribbly quick paint, trying to capture the feeling of one’s beauty. It was my flower phase, where I was experimenting with metaphors using flowers and tones. Most of my work is open to interpretation, so don’t let my definition of it stop you from thinking more about it.

melancholy //, 2016
melancholy //, 2016

DM: You don’t seem to focus on overcomplicated works – your art is fairly minimalistic. Why have you adopted this particular style?

J: I like the treatment of the artwork to be more complicated than the composition. My art is minimalistic because what I want to express can be expressed with few elements. Considering the works of an artist like Frida Kahlo, who uses a large number of elements in terms of creating metaphors and objects, I am quite the opposite, hence this certain sense of minimalism works for me. But there’s always more to be seen in the way the painting is treated: the brush strokes, usage of colours and lighting etc.

DM: Do political events in India inspire or affect your art? Could you tell us what and why?

J: I am affected by political events in India, but they haven’t influenced my art as yet. I am still figuring out stuff about myself that I didn’t know before. I’ve yet to respond to ideas that are so external.

DM: Do you have any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?

J: I am working on the final piece of my new gods series and some compositions that have been getting delayed for a while. Oh, I am also working on a series of paintings for my graduation project, the details of which I have to keep secret, but yes – a lot of exciting stuff.

You can follow Jayman’s work on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.