Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Meet Art Collector: Shirly Berelowitz

A short story about her painting:
Shilry Berelowitz is a graduated psychologist from the University of Belgrano, Buenos Aires. Shirly has been working at the Jewish Community Centre in Vancouver for over 10 years. She is the Children & Youth program coordinator. Shirly is very creative and is always looking for innovative programs. Many of the programs have been created by her and she has also outsourced other programs, tailoring the needs of the JCC clientele. She is devoted to the Jewish community which she loves so much. I have had the pleasure of working with Shirly almost every summer when the staff at Camp Shalom invites me to teach art to the children.
In 2004 when my family and I arrived to Vancouver, a friend that was helping us settling down told me: “You should meet Shirly. I am sure you and her will become friends”. A week later, I went to meet Shirly at the synagogue Beth Israel, where she was leading a weekly group for mothers and toddlers. My son was 2 years old at that time and I thought that he and I might enjoy meeting new friends. I still recall when I encountered Shirly for the first time. She greeted us with a big smile and a warm hug.  My heart smiled.  She was the friendliest and warmest person and something about her felt very familiar, like we knew each other from before. After the meeting, she invited me for coffee together with her son, who eventually became my son’s best friends in the first years. Shirly and I were born and raised in Buenos Aires and we both attended the same Elementary School.
When I turned 40, Shirly hosted my birthday party at her gorgeous apartment. I was starting to explore painting and decided to bring over one of my early works to her place. “You know, I know” was the one I chose.
“You Know, I know” is one of my early works from 2007. The painting is a mixed media, using only a palette of blues, grays and whites. There are glitters added to the women’s dresses.
We thought the painting would bring some color to Shirly’s living room. We hanged up the artwork and it looked stunning! It seemed to be the perfect fit for her place! After the party was over, I left the painting at her place because I had too many things to carry and couldn’t take the large artwork with me. Days turned into weeks, months and years until one day I told Shirly that it was time to pick up the painting. Luckily and surprisingly, Shirly told me that she got fond of the painting and offered to buy it from me. I was moved and honored knowing that a good friend of mine liked my work so much and was willing to purchase it.
Thank you Shirly for being an amazing friend, a supporter and enthusiast of my work! My life in Vancouver is amazing because you are in it!
"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin
Visit my website: Jazmin Sasky

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Children's Book that helps us grieve and remember our loved ones!

"What Grandma Built"
A delightful story written by: Michelle Gilman and  Illustrated by: Jazmin Sasky
A summary of the book: "Grandma builds her home on the shore of a lake. As her family gets bigger, the house grows too- and eventually becomes a castle, a magical place full of love and traditions. The castle's stone foundation means that it will last for years and years, just like how Grandma and her love will last forever in the memories of her family".
A few years ago, Michelle Gilman approached me to illustrate a book she wrote honouring her late mother, Phyllis. Michelle lost her mom a few months before we met and the idea for the book came from the eulogy she wrote for her mom’s funeral. The story was a simple and delightful one, telling the story of a grandma through the eyes of her grandchildren. Keeping a warm and friendly tone throughout the book, the reader learns how this grandma nurtures and loves her husband, children and grandchildren eventually building “a magical castle” where the family builds memories together.
The process of creating this book was magical because both Michelle and I witnessed the fight and loss of a loved one to cancer. Going through the life of this Grandma, her joyful moments, her illness and her death, helped me, in a special way, to grief and to process my own brother's death. 

In many of our meetings, Michelle and I just sat down and cried and talked about our loved ones. The loss was recent  for both of us and the story was so personal that it brought tears and memories. Michelle had many versions of the story being the death part the most challenging one to write.  When Michelle was pleased with the story (after many editing and corrections) she passed it on to me so I could start visualizing the book.
I first sketched the whole book in pencil in order to check the flow of the story and the illustrations. This process was very important because I checked that the compositions were interesting, that each page was different and that each page would capture the child's attention.

Once the sketching part was completed, I prepared the book for colour. I created a first color sample for Michelle to approve. Once she approved this sample (below), I coloured the whole book.

When the book was completed, Michelle and I met to approve each single page and to discuss the most important page: the cover of the book. Lara Shecter, the book designer, was at the meeting too and she suggested to do the book cover illustrating only the "magical castle". We liked the idea of not showing the Grandma in the cover. I did a small illustration to show the Grandma in the first page (which I really like).

Once, the book was scanned, Lara prepared the layout of the book for printing.

Michelle printed a few copies for her family on the marking of the anniversary of Phyllis’ death. After sharing the book with her family, Michelle started sharing the book with friends and was surprised to hear that friends were asking to buy a copy for their own families. The story was appealing to everyone because it was a story of love, family traditions and legacy. 
After endless calls and meetings, Michelle managed to meet with Harbour Publishing Company. They loved the story and decided to publish, distribute and sell "What Grandma Built".
Today, I received in the mail some copies of the book that will be available soon to the market!! It is so exciting that this book is going to spread and reach many more homes and families across Canada.

Michelle Gilman's Testimonial: "Thank you from the bottom of my hear for helping me honour my mom. I will be forever grateful".

About the author:
Michelle Gilman was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba enjoying summers at Lake of The Woods, Ontario. She attended the University of Manitoba earning Bachelor degrees in both Science and Education. After moving to Phoenix, Arizona, Michelle completed her Master of Education specializing in Special Education. She worked as a resource teacher for five years, before becoming an Associate Professor at Arizona State University teaching reading in the Faculty of Education.
Harbour Publishing Company: http://www.harbourpublishing.com/

            "The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin
Visit my website: Jazmin Sasky

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"Helping Hands" at The BC Women's Hospital

A short story about this painting:
Last summer, I got the opportunity to donate one of my paintings to the prestigious BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver. The BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre offers comprehensive maternity care and a range of programs and clinics dedicated to improving the health of women, newborns and their families in Vancouver, BC.

Every 2 years, I come to the screening mammography centre at the Hospital to do my routine screening. The screening Mammography centre offers screening mammograms, which are the best way to find early breast cancer. The earlier a cancer is detected, the more options a woman has for treatment and the better chance she has for a cure.
The clinic is beautiful, carefully designed with calming and neutral colors and bare walls. Last time I went, I thought that my work would look very nice on one of the empty walls. With hundreds of women coming and going every month, my poignant and whimsy women would be the perfect fit for this audience. I took some photos of the empty walls, went to my studio and in my computer, using Photoshop, I made mock-ups of how some of my paintings might look on the walls of the clinic.

I then contacted Jill Diamond. Jill Diamond is a board member of the BC Women’s Foundation. The BC Women’s Foundation supports the Hospital’s urgent and future priority needs like purchasing modern, state-of-the-art equipment and technology, supporting program and service development and expansion, supporting the Hospital’s site redevelopment and building research, education and training capacity. Through fundraising campaigns, signature events, and growing support from partners in the community, BC Women’s Foundation supports the BC Women’s Hospital.
With Jill's support and guidance I managed to contact the right person. The staff at the Foundation liked the idea and the style of my work and offered me the opportunity to showcase one of my works at the mammography centre.  The staff and I had to choose the best artwork for the centre, taking in account the neutral colors, the composition and size of the work and of course choosing the most appealing story for the hospital’s setting. “Helping Hands” was the chosen one.

To create “Helping Hands”, I interviewed two women that shared with me their years of close friendship and how they support each other when life gets challenging. In this artwork, I chose to focus on the women holding hands. Hands are a symbol of love, care, help and support. Most women rely on their close friends for support, especially when life gets challenging and I felt that this story- of friendship and closeness- would be the perfect one!

The Foundation set a date for delivery and last summer (2015) I went to see the artwork in display and to meet the doctors that supervise the screening centre.

I want to share with you the testimonials of 2 good friends who called me after visiting the centre and seeing my work:
Alex Moses’s Testimonial: “Hi Jaz, I saw your work at the centre today. It looks beautiful and gave me a sense of comfort before going to get my first ever screening”.
Michal Sitvon’s Testimonials: “Wow, I just saw your painting at the clinic! I was so proud to know the artist behind the work; I loved the story told in the little sign by the work. It helped me relate more to the painting”.
"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin
Visit my website: Jazmin Sasky

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

From 50 applications “Home Is Love” made it to Granville Island!

“Home Is Love” Art exhibition is on display now at The Waterfront Theatre till May4th, 2016. This is my second exhibition at this theatre and I personally love that place!

The Waterfront Theatre is a versatile, fully equipped 224-seat performance venue that has been host to some of Vancouver’s most dynamic theatre producers, such as, The International Flamenco Festival, Pacifique en Chason, and Carousel Theatre. The theatre is located at the heart of Granville Island in Vancouver. The theater tailors plays for younger audiences and families, making the proximity to the Kids Market building the perfect location for this venue.
When applications started pouring in for this year, "Home is Love" had a lot of chances since the artwork was all inspired by motherhood moments, love and joy. 
“Home Is Love” was a collaboration with the YWCA- Vancouver. The non-profit organization and I partnered from  2013 till 2015. The vision for this project was to honor both their donors and the women the YWCA serve.  I worked closely with the staff and got to know the organization better. I attended social events, took a bus tour around the city to visit their facilities and read about their programs and successful stories. We launched the exhibition with a successful opening night reception on February 12th 2015 at the Westside Grand Gallery in Kitsilano, with guests, donors, staff, the YWCA’S CEO Janet Austin and friends.

Let me tell you a bit more about the concept of “Home Is Love”:
What does it take to make a home? This question was posed to approx. 50 single mothers over a 15 month period, through introductions facilitated by the YWCA. Interviews were done by phone, email and in person. A questionnaire was presented to single mothers’ support groups and filled anonymously by the moms. Once there were enough answers and stories, I gathered the information and went to my studio to paint. The body of work for “Home Is Love” included 12 paintings all inspired by honest answers, meaningful stories and  happy motherhood moments. I wanted the paintings to be a reflection of these evocative conversations. I also got inspiration from my own experiences as a mother, as you can see in this photo!
Getting inspiration from my loved ones.
On the left: Posing with Yoel & Eitan at home. On the right: "Stuffies' Party"
Inspired by a form of Latin American art, the Peruvian retablos, each canvas was likened to a window in a home transporting the viewer to scenes of love, happiness and tender family moments. The retablos were costumed made by a talented carpenter and the roofs were finished with mosaics using vintage tiles imported from Argentina.
Peruvian retablos

       Window-liked scene of a home

Roof was costumed made and finished using vintage tiles

At the opening night reception On Feb 12th 2015, with YWCA CEO Janet Austin

Opening night reception, giving a speech about the project and sharing my vision as an artist
Now, the exhibition is open to a wider audience attending the Waterfront theatre. I am very excited to have this opportunity and to brighten up the lobby with unique body of work.

    In 2014 at The Waterfront Theatre, showing "Honouring Women"
    In 2016 at The Waterfront Theatre, showing "Home Is Love"
"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin
Visit my website to see more photos Jazmin Sasky

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

When? Why? How I got so isolated?? My reasons to get out of my “studio” NOW! and this new idea I came up with to do so!

When I decided to devote myself to full time painting, I was definitely not aware that my days would be very solitary. Life as an artist is very exciting, don’t get me wrong, but most of the days are spent at the studio, painting for hours, days, weeks, months… eventually turning into years of isolation and loneliness. I find myself working for hours without talking to anyone until is time to pick up my children from school. Usually at 3:30pm is when I realize that another day went by without speaking a word for hours! No wonder, I have started to go nuts and to feel lonely. I enjoy my work a lot. Painting takes me to imaginary places where I feel happiness, sadness and all sorts of feelings. But I have started to miss the connection with people and realized how much I needed to bring this connection back to my life.

 At my studio. spending countless hours painting.

A few months ago, while thinking what I could do, I came up with the idea of hosting workshops and parties for women. I thought this idea could bring back what I have been missing so much, which is to interact, give and share with others.

I was thinking: what idea could be easy to execute?  What project could be friendly to people who are not so artsy? What idea could create some depth and meaning and get people to think and walk away with a feeling of empowerment? The idea that came to my mind was “Self- Affirmation’s Workshops”. This idea came from my own personal need of self- reassurance when life gets challenging.  I use affirmations a lot to help me when facing hard times. Sometimes these quotes just inspire me, sometimes they make me think my decisions, sometimes they just make me feel happy or empowered. I realized that these quotes not only help me, but they help many others. Especially I noticed how much people like to share inspiring quotes on Facebook.

Workshops for young adults & women
Workshops for children 10 & up
For the past weeks, I have been gathering inspiring self-affirmations quotes for these new workshops. Each affirmation I chose is a reminder to others of their awesomeness, their personal journey, reminders to keep a positive attitude in life and reminders to empower also their loved ones. I enjoyed the process a lot! Once I chose the quotes I believed would inspire others; I carefully designed each one to look like a “chalkboard message”.
10 Affirmations to remind you of your journey and dreams
10 Affirmations to remind your attitude and self value
10 Affirmations to reminders to your loved one
10 Affirmations to remind your awesomeness
Now there is over 40 quotes to choose from and to feel inspired!
Final piece mounted in an elegant frame.

In this workshop participants will work on 2 inspirational quotes. Painting on beautiful water color papers, participants will learn how to trace and use water color techniques while using only professional art supplies. The final piece is mounted in an elegant white wooden frame. The workshops invite participants to share with the group their finished product, with the goal to create a meaningful evening devoted to female empowerment and friendship.

I am very excited to start hosting these workshops because I can’t wait to get together with people again!
For information and booking:  info@jazminsasky.com