A multimedia artist based in Austin, Jiminai comes from humble origins in West Texas. He began drawing at an early age, and thanks to positive influences throughout those early years, he’s continued drawing and pushing into new media including painting, digital illustration and large murals. Known for vibrant color palettes, he specializes in portraits that are simultaneously photorealistic & comic book-like. His works appreciate the human form while attempting to elevate them through fashion, color and design. In Jiminai’s mind, we’re all capable of being art ourselves—and this shows in his work.
1. What gets your motor running?
Inspiration can come in the weirdest and most random spots. Often it’s simply viewing artists and them working. Simply scrolling through social media I will come across a process video or something random like carving dragons out of wood, which is not anywhere near the media I work in, and it’ll ignite a fire that makes me jump up and pull out the sketch pad. At the same time, the motor is never not running. All day there are random thoughts of creativity and ideas that pop up. Artist will have a million ideas in their lifetime, but time will only allow us to complete so many for the world to see.Time. If I have a few minutes of time, the only thing I want to be doing is paint. It’s meditative and calming. If I have time, I lose track of it when painting.
2. Your art is heavily influenced by visions of the future. Where do you think we’re heading?
Thinking about the future is challenging. I’m filled with hope, but also feel that dread of impending doom. Media would have you believe a dystopian future is the only option, and with how policy makers and the role money plays in society makes it difficult to “keep the faith”.” That said, humans started naked in the wilderness testing which berries and mushrooms made them sick, and now we carry the world in our pockets daily. T o that extent, I hope that technology grows in ways that do advance our quality of life so that we can advance our species as a whole into an age of creativity and ambition, versus work and maintenance.
3. Your art is so unpredictable, moving from small pieces to huge murals, from paintings to drawings. What’s your favorite medium?
Rather than a specific favorite media, I think I could nerd out more on what I like specifically about each individual media. Personally I would rather do tons of media and experiment with new ones throughout my career over being an artist that created 10,000 of one thing. I also really enjoy the challenge of learning new media and what works on some that doesn’t on others. For example, that brutal moment in an acrylic painting where you realize you can’t hit cntl+z and undo that brushstroke.
4. Austin’s art scene has come a long way in the last few years. What changes and trends are you seeing?
Austin has been exploding in population over the past years, and as a result there’s this new influx in culture and creativity. Finding mural gigs six years ago is drastically different from six months ago. Right now, there seems to be this trend of business owners putting up artwork on their walls. Epic; finally. While Austin isn’t the first to do this, I’m glad it’s headed in this direction. Frankly, blank walls bore me, so whether it’s me or colleagues, I appreciate a colorful city. I do think the important thing is to promote the local art community and allow them to flourish.
5. There are so many sci-fi and comic themes in your paintings. What comics and scifi works did you love growing up, and which ones have informed your work as an artist?
I’m a product of the Cartoon Network’s Toonami and Adult Swim era. Learning about shows like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost In The Shell, Gundam and Trigun (along with so many more) I found a love for the futuristic themes in animation. Not only the bright sterilized spaceships, but the grimy alleyways and realistic approach to what the future could hold. With my more recent stuff, I try to imagine versions of the future that these famous Japanese writers and artists were thinking about.
6. What else are you working on now? What does the future hold?
I’ve actually just begun working on sketches for another book set in the future. I think the power of even current tech allows the possibilities of fashion to be endless. With this version, I’m also hoping to involve animation to elevate the feel of the fashion. And speaking of fashion, who knows, maybe there’s wearable pieces on the horizon…
7. How do you take your whiskey?
OAs futuristic as my art may be, I tend to be quite “Old Fashioned.”