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Posted 24 March 2021
Mention by Jazz Grant
Interview by Creative Lives in Progress

“Everyone has the skill set to collage”: Meet visual artist Jazz Grant

Just over a year ago, Jazz Grant was juggling several side jobs and working part-time in fashion. Today, the London-based creative has made a name for herself as a visual artist, with her striking hand-cut collage work. Having initially studied menswear at the London College of Fashion, it was through ‘casually’ creating collages, and later posting them on Instagram, that ultimately helped Jazz connect to a new audience. Collaborations with The Black Curriculum and commissions for the likes of Nike and Burberry soon followed, as Jazz’s style and confidence have continued to grow. Here, she tells us about some recent projects, and why everyone has the ability to collage.

Jazz Grant, photographed by Missohio

Jazz Grant


Name

Jazz Grant

Job Title

Artist

Based

London

Selected Clients

Burberry, Gucci, Adidas

Previous Employment

Fashion Designer

Place of Study

BA Fashion Design Menswear, London College of Fashion (2013–2016)

Website

jazzgrantstudio.com

Social Media

Instagram

What I do

How would you describe what you do?
I’m a visual artist who predominantly works with hand-cut collage. I work on my own practice creating artworks, alongside working on commissions and collaborations with photographers or brands.

If you could sum up your job in a few images, what would they be and why?
These photos (below) sum up my process. I surround myself in this way with every project I work on.

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Jazz’s studio space

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Jazz’s studio space

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Jazz’s studio space

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
At the moment, every piece created is fully inspired by the original images and content themselves. I never fully know how it’s going to turn out, but the image itself dictates the final outcome.

I’m inspired by dimension, form and lines found in imagery. I want to find ways of challenging our perceptions within that.

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
A really short film, Rhyging Sun. It was a commission by (print publication and digital platform) Boy.Brother.Friend to create a hand-cut collage animation. It was a really personal project in every way, and something I had been gearing up to for a while.

It was a full exploration into an area I had only just discovered. The first full-length feature film to emerge from Jamaica, The Harder They Come by Perry Henzell was a window into a country shrouded in mystery for me. I contacted the family of the director and was granted permission to use frames from the film within my animated collage. The other images, like the sun, moon, and satellite imagery, were mostly found via NASA.

Rhyging Sun
Frames from Rhyging Sun

How I got here

You initially studied menswear at London College of Fashion. Are there any transferable learnings from your studies that apply to the work you do now?
We were encouraged to design through collaging with our research imagery. I remember lecturers would say, “If you can’t draw, collage.” And that was me, really, so I was collaging all the time.

Also, studying fashion is really interesting in that you work so technically; inventing form and line in 3D garments through pattern cutting is really mathematical. But also, we are creating concepts, working with colour and texture, manipulating fabric, sewing, gathering – it’s all definitely very related to what I do now.

“I remember lecturers would say, ‘If you can’t draw, collage.’ And that was me, really.”

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
No, it is as simple as having a paper, scalpel knife and a cutting mat. Everyone has the skill set to collage. It just takes time to hone in on that skill and to figure out your personal style.

What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
I always expected to work in fashion, and as soon as I graduated, I started working for a luxury fashion brand called CURIEUX as head designer. Working for small fashion brands is interesting because you have to learn all aspects of how to run a business very quickly. From designing the collection and working with factories, to running production and going to the showrooms in Paris.

What first inspired you to start working with collage?
It was probably the collages I made while developing concepts at uni that turned my focus to this way of creating artworks. But whether it was art or textiles classes, even at A-Level, collaging has always been there.

Then, just over a year ago, I was working several side jobs in unrelated industries and working part-time in fashion. I was creating collages in a casual way and it has only recently evolved into a fully-formed practice.

I didn’t plan it, but I knew I was going to end up doing something in the creative field. I think people started to connect to what I do, and at the same time I was able to continue developing my style and confidence. It will always be a continuing journey. Next, I want to explore scale and different materials. I’m open to where it will lead me.

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Looking into the work and journey of artists – both historical and contemporary – who have had unusual trajectories and multifaceted ways of working; letting go of preconceptions of what a career should look like; and I often listen to the Great Women Artists podcast.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Sticking down my work permanently, even when it is complete.

Jazz Grant Artist Creative Lives Man on the Moon Rhyging Sun Frames

Still from Rhyging Sun

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Still from Rhyging Sun

“Instagram acted as a way of publishing my work and connecting to people who either enjoyed it, found it inspiring, or wanted to collaborate.”

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
In a way, Instagram acted as a way of publishing my work and connecting to people who either enjoyed it, found it inspiring, or wanted to collaborate. It ultimately led to bigger brands finding me, which in turn led to commissions.

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
Now I am able to divide my time between commissions and my own practice. Commercial jobs pay and allow me to explore my own projects simultaneously. The challenge is to create a balance in my days and weeks so that my time is equally designated.

How did you go about landing your first clients or commissions?
My housemate hired me for a FIFA campaign that he was directing! His brief was to create a film within the challenges of the first lockdown, when Covid 19 first emerged last year. It was the first time I realised my work could be relevant in a commercial environment.

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t overthink it, just start and enjoy the process. I have to remind myself of this all the time.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role to you?
Just give it a go and see where you find inspiration. Experiment. There’s no such thing as wasted time.

Mention Jazz Grant
Interview by Creative Lives in Progress