Based in Durban, Jess Benjamin-Purmeswar creates her vivid and alluring pieces with everything from digital illustration to the humble pencil. She recently earned the Selected Creator title in the Ballantine’s Orchard Fruits Creative Brief, for her standout watercolor work––but Jess’ varied skill set doesn’t stop there. We caught up with the artist to get an exclusive insight into how she works, where (and who) she gets inspiration from, and why trusting her intuition is key to the creative journey she’s on. Read along to see what she had to share!
TH: How would you describe your artistic style? And how did you develop it?
JBP: Looking through the pieces of art I’ve created over the years, I feel a vibrant, luminous, soft, innocent and childlike quality emanating from them. Color and light had me entranced from early childhood. I’ve been under its spell since, trying to capture its mystery and magic in pen and paint.
TH: Talk us through your creative process.
JBP: When inspiration stirs (whether serendipitously or by brainstorming) I turn to pencil and paper to capture those precious first impressions. From there, I usually ink my drawings, scan and then edit them as I desire on Photoshop or Illustrator.
TH: Are there any tools you couldn’t live without?
JBP: I’m easy. If I can draw with it, I’m happy!
TH: Which artistic medium (or media) did you use?
JBP: Watercolor felt like the perfect medium to capture this vision.
TH: How did it feel to be chosen as Selected Creator for the Ballantine's Orchard Fruits Creative Brief?
JBP: Such a flurry of emotions! It was beyond words! But here are a few that capture the essence: Wonderful. Connected. Limitless!
TH: What was the thinking behind your design?
JBP: For the Ballantine’s Orchard Fruits brief, I envisioned each fruity flavor note being represented by its own delicious, rich color... one blending into the other, creating subtle nuances of color and flavor.
TH: When did you get into digital art? Has it helped your workflow?
JBP: I first got into digital art during my college years. It’s helped my workflow, without a doubt! It’s streamlined a lot of processes that traditionally would take a lot of time and resources.
TH: Who–or what–are your main influences?
JBP: Life (the sanctity and transience of our earthly existence), Spirit (ours and our connection to the Great Spirit/Cosmic Consciousness/whatever you call it) and the Law Of Attraction––LOVE me some Abraham Hicks!
TH: You can invite 3 artists (past or present) to a dinner party. Who do you choose?
JBP: The Greys, Alex and Allyson: Needless to say, their art is gorgeous and I definitely aspire to express myself as soulfully as they do. I’d be enthralled by virtually anything they speak about. Love ‘em.
It would be so humbling to chill with Pablo Amaringo, the brilliant Peruvian artist, who shared his Ayahuasca visions so vividly with the world. It would be riveting to hear about his cosmic adventures with this sacred plant medicine.
Also, Leonardo Da Vinci! What a visionary! Damn! I would have to work very hard to stop myself from prostrating before him, lol.
TH: What have been some of the biggest learnings on your creative journey so far?
JBP: Learning to trust my intuition and let go of self-doubt.
TH: If you could give some words of advice to upcoming artists (or perhaps your past self), what would they be?
JBP: “Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do you work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine!” Buddha is the man. Truly.
TH: What’s next for you?
JBP: 2020 is going to be a brilliant year––I can feel it! My clothing label, 287, will be launched soon (would love for you guys to follow us on Insta, @287grams). It celebrates mind, body, spirit and plant medicines. My painting series called Cosmic Pearl will be in full swing also (@skychild111 for more)! I plan to publish my self-illustrated children’s book, Just to Find You, and I’ll be finishing my Sci-Fi/Metaphysical/Suspense novel, Freeling, too.
TH: Wow, 2020 is going to be busy! Apart from all those, do you have any dream projects you want to work on in the future?
JBP: I look forward to co-creating with amazing people who desire to contribute to global preservation and upliftment.