Van Jazmin is young, but he carries himself in the way a middle-age, experienced business owner would. As customers come into Clothesline Gallery & Boutique, he tells them about the Nick Sirotich exhibit, which opened July 28.
He suggests that sometimes he has time to work on his own art at the gallery; but it’s hard to believe he has time to think of himself at all.
“Part of me is worried that I’m going to get so involved in other things that I’m going to stop illustrating,” he says. After all, he has been illustrating since he got in trouble with school administration in first grade for selling drawings to his peers.
In addition to his own illustrations and photography, Jazmin is an advocate on many artistic platforms, in collaborations with groups and projects all over the city. And he’s doing it without the ego typically associated with someone who’s accomplished as much as he has by his age.
Most people know him as the kind, long-haired, eclectic man behind Clothesline’s front desk. But plenty of people know him from elsewhere.
He’s a Ringling student; an ambassador for Earthdance, an art and music festival taking place in September; a commissioned illustrator; a live-drawing artist at The End of the Dial Tone Radical Experimental Collaborative Music Band; and is a live, digital artist for Third Eye Projections. He sure does get around, but to him it’s equally as exciting as it is exhausting. He thrives on his involvement.
Jazmin came to Sarasota in 2009 for an art education at Ringling College. He stems from “the most radioactive town in America” — Canonsburg, Pa. (He wonders if this aspect has anything to do with the way he turned out.) He’ll graduate next May with a degree in illustration and a minor in business.
Not long after his move to Sarasota, Jazmin began collaborating with local artists, starting with fellow Ringling students.
In 2009, he realized the college was lacking a student publication on campus that showcased students’ work, poetry and photos. Jazmin became enthralled by an underground magazine idea. He teamed up with his dorm roommate at the time, Jack Stone, and peer Brett Lindstrom to execute Zig Zag magazine. The students published, printed and distributed 300 copies of five issues of the dark magazine.
“No one knew what we were doing until the magazine came out,” he says. “We’d lock ourselves in the print studios and not let anyone in.”
The issue releases were each celebrated with catered “smash hit” release parties featuring live music and art exhibitions. The releases resembled trade shows with tents full of artists of all mediums, from traditional art to multimedia and music.
“We kept having success helping artists communicate and connect with each other and a lot of it was about collaborating and art coming together,” Jazmin says of the events.
At the time, Clothesline owner Austin Kowal was sponsoring Zig Zag’s releases with his screen-printing services. His sponsorship turned into a collaboration with Jazmin and a few other partners. They shared a common goal to give local and emerging artists a platform on which to launch their careers. That goal translated into pop-up shows Jazmin helped Kowal promote.
The success of the shows eventually enticed Kowal to move Clothesline a few doors down into the 529 Pineapple Ave. location and a re-vamped and re-energized Clothesline re-opened in March as a permanent art gallery and boutique.
Jazmin started out curating the artist line up for the shows, but has since shifted roles to store manager and a do-it-all kind of guy. Jazmin admits he hates mopping, and painting the walls for in preparation for a new show each month.
The majority of art shows that take place in the gallery are comprised of current students or Ringling alumni.
“I wanted this to be a platform for Ringling students to launch their careers,” says Jazmin.
He feels committed to Sarasota because he’s advanced and thrived here. He’s been introduced to up-and-coming artists and business owners; he has organized successful pop-up shows; he has also commissioned his own work for book covers and food labels — he’s really made himself known among the Sarasota art community.
“Being here, I feel re-rooted, and I feel like I need to do something for my community.
There just seems to be opportunities everywhere, and not everyone sees the opportunities,” Jazmin says about Sarasota.
“Even though it’s quieter and smaller than a big city, it has this sense of growth throughout it and I think that is very stimulating for creativity.”
He hopes more young people will also choose to call Sarasota home in the future.
“Opportunity has kept people here, and Clothesline is the reason they stayed (in Sarasota), and that makes me really happy,” he says.
Jazmin is humble about his own artwork. He doesn’t even bring it up until prodded.
It would be easy to guess, that many of his illustrations focus on the collaborations he has found in life: music, art and community.
IF YOU GO
Clothesline Gallery & Boutique
Where: 529 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
Current exhibit: ‘Bon Voyage,’ a Nick Sirotich Illustration Show
When: July 28 to Aug. 31
Hours: Noon to 4 p.m.; 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday
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