ARTIST OF THE WEEK: YAZMIN BUTCHERNovember 17, 2017
Toronto-based graphic designer Yazmin Butcher creates female-focused artwork that packs a powerful punch. Full of vibrant colour and witty references, her work is inspired by the perfectly-imperfect people around her.
Here, she tells us about living the moment, breaking taboos, her middle name “Monet” and why she co-founded GXXRLS Creative Agency…
Have you always been interested in art?
Art was a really big part of my life growing up. My mom is an artist and was always drawing and painting (she still is!). In the summer, she would put on a cd (it could be classical one day and 70s disco the next), cover the kitchen table with a paint stained cloth and have paints, pencil crayons, pastels, etc. so my sister and I could experiment. I fell in love with art early in life and always knew I would working in that world. My middle name is also Monet so I feel like it was ~*meant2be*~
How did you get into graphic design?
I went to school for Fashion Communications at Ryerson here in Toronto, and they taught us the basics of the adobe suite. I realised pretty early into the program that fashion wasn’t the industry for me, but graphic design piqued my interest. I started fooling around more and more on my computer and taught myself everything I know! I graduated and got an internship at a production company as a graphic designer (aka I was the only graphic designer and had to continue to teach myself how to edit photos, video, and create my own personal style) – 3 months later I was hired on as the design lead. 3 years later I’m co-founder of an all female creative agency called GXXRLS.
How would you describe your style?
I’d describe my style as being very colour heavy, very female focused and sometimes a lil’ sexual. I love lines and fine details, so if someone has freckles or a gap in their teeth, I want to bring attention to that. Ever since I started drawing faces, I look at everyones face so differently now. I love the perfect imperfections and showing women that we’re all beautiful.
What sort of themes do you like to explore in your work?
Sex/sexuality are themes I love to play with in my work; I find people are still really uncomfortable talking about it and I absolutely love it (talking about it and… having it). I think it’s important for women to love themselves and to be comfortable with all of their parts. I made the vagina calendar because there was a point where I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable with my body; I was just trapped in my own mind, comparing myself to everyone else. Making those pieces reminded me that everyone is different; we taste different, we feel different, and that’s OKAY.
When creating a new piece, what inspires you?
I get inspired by everything. *cue yawns* BUT I’m serious! At one point I kept calling everything trash and then drew two people with trash bags on their heads. I get inspired by art, history, movies, quotes, music, fashion, FOOD, etc. I’d also like to think I’m hilarious, so I always try to make each piece cheeky in its own way.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
My creative process differs depending on what I’m working on. If it’s an illustration, I have a list of ideas I constantly write down. I’d make a small little sketch of what I’m picturing and then hop on the computer, put my favourite tunes on blast and work start to finish (usually all at once..but sometimes it takes more than a day). If I’m working on a logo or poster for a client, there’s a lot more time in between because I have to get reference images and approvals.
What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
Back when I used to draw and paint more often, I loved good ol’ pencils and watercolour. Watercolour is such a beautiful medium and I loved how it was a little uncontrollable.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given, about art or otherwise?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given is ‘tomorrow isn’t promised.’ I’m the first to admit that life is hard and scary, but it’s also beautiful and exciting. I really try to apply this to everything in my life – I’d rather take that jump instead of wondering, ‘what if?’ Thinking of changing careers? Do it! Wondering if you should text that dude? HECK YA. Live your life!
What do you hope people will take away from your work?
Hopefully people just feel something when they see my work – I honestly couldn’t ask for more. …maybe a few laughs too.
Growing GXXRLS, trying to balance work, freelance, a social life; tattooing more and mastering the piano !
Follow Yazmin on Instagram