To conclude this year’s Queen See Queen series, I would like to introduce multifaceted artist, Jassmyn Fowlkes also known as Jjaahz. You may know her for unique shirt designs, thought provoking art pieces, or watermelon pins, but if you have had a chance to meet Jjaahz in person, you know that she is one of kindest and funniest people that you will ever meet. Jjaahz is a Queen because she brings out the best in those who are surrounded by her and she is unapologetically herself.
I know you are originally from Philly. What made you come to the Bay?
In 2009, I got a scholarship to go to California College of the arts.
You are a musician, painter, photographer, graphic designer etc.. How do balance all of your talents? Do you find yourself doing one more than the other?
It all balances out. I shoot with my point shoot more than anything because it’s the most instant gratification I get from creating or composing something I see. I’m not really a graphic designer I just know how to work photoshop, lol! Music is just a way to channel how I feel in a darker realm of self, it’s the most vulnerable part of me and I also barely put music out because I’m still processing it and I don’t make it for anyone but myself. And drawing is my favorite out of them all, I doodle and release a lot of mind chatter with my quick profile faces I draw. I just create to create honestly.
When did you get into music? How would you describe your sound?
I’ve been into music my whole life, I did ballet, hip hop, tap and jazz until I 17 years old and also played the sax and piano in my younger years. But when I moved here I had friend who were super into music and I was into poetry at the time so I was down to record and try it out. Then I just started going from there.
Is this there a particular era or artist that you feel has an inspired your art?
I’m super into late 80’s-early 2000s music and my visual art is just culture, like hip hop culture I grew up too, going to college I started to try and fit a mold and realized that it’s best to be me and create the way that I do.
What challenges do you face as a female artist? How do you deal with those challenges?
I face the challenge of being queer and black. But I don’t see it as a challenge honestly, the way I place myself in the world makes people more interested. I’ve definitely been isolated and not “picked” to do a lot just because people don’t know or try to get to know. But when they do get to know me and understand me on a deeper level all the stipulations and “challenging” goes out the window. Everyone wants to be accepted and fit into a mold but people don’t realize the circle that doesn’t fit inside the box is always way more intriguing and has a different struggle.
What are some things that you do for self care?
Listen to music and Go to the beach to clear my mind. Also speak to people closest to me to help me see myself. Sometimes as people we get in our own way of things we want/need to accomplish. My self care looks like the love I needed as a child, sometimes it looks like me and my puppy going for a walk, sometimes it looks like me taking care of someone else.
What do you love most about the Bay Area and how has the culture here had an impact on you as an artist?
The free spirited nature of the community I’m apart.
What is your definition of a Queen?
Someone who stands confident in their skin. Loving them self flaws and all. Someone who speaks from there divine feminine and divine masculine in a way that all people can receive it.
Are you working on any projects at the moment?
Well, I do have things I’ve been working on but the spring equinox gave me a blessing disguise and stripped me of all my material possessions last Friday and now I have to start over. I see it as a set back for a beautiful set up.
Follow Jjaahz HERE
Listen to her music HERE