EYES&EDGE: Jason, when did you first realize you were an artist? Did you grow up around artists or did you have a specific turning point that you recall that set you on your path later in life?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: I attribute my artistic influence to my father, Alex. I remember when I was 5, he had a sketch book I was often found flipping through. One day , I asked who had drawn the realistic household objects, and to my amazement, he told me it was him. He passed the sketch book down to me as well as some instructional books he would always use to teach me some basics.
EYES&EDGE: How amazing to be inspired and supported in that way! Do you find that there is a certain art or cultural movement that inspires you the most ?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: My cultural influences come from Ghana. I grew up in a Ghanaian household which meant there were patterns everywhere. I was surrounded by beautiful woven clothes with patterns and colors that each told a story about our rich past.
EYES&EDGE: What effect do you wish to have on the world and people when they see your art ?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ:I hope to invoke love, joy, compassion and childlike nostalgia and playfulness.
EYES&EDGE: How long have you been designing and what was the process like getting started? What were you doing before that ?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: I came up with the idea for Sleepless Mindz while I was working at H&M back in 2012. I was inspired one day to draw an image which became our first logo. I showed it to a couple of friends and they thought it would be cool to put it on a shirt. The name came to me and I began producing my first run of hoodies and crewnecks at a point shop in my neighbourhood.
EYES&EDGE: Do you have any particular heros or sheroes you aspire to ? How about music, smells , sights, places that inspire you and push you forward?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: One of my biggest inspirations is Michael Jackson. I am also a huge fan of 80s/90s anime and mangas.
EYES&EDGE: Your happy place. Describe it to me .
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: My happy place would be where I work out of; The Treehouse. I am constantly surrounded by fluffy rugs, pastel color pallets, lots of vintage and plants as well as childhood cartoons all with the sound track of slowed down 90s R&B , hip-hop or afrobeat
EYES&EDGE: Tell us about your process. A day in the life of the studio.
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: Once the inspiration hits, I pull out my paints and clear space on the kitchen table. I put on some cartoons and music and let my soul run free. Sometimes I have one piece I'm working or I work in bulk and have a pile of 20 jackets to bring to life.
EYES&EDGE: I’ve noticed that your art seems to fit quite well with the street art movement. How do you feel like they match up and where do they collide?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: Yes, I've found in Vancouver that the go-to colors are gray or black or beige. I love to bring color to everything I do and everything I produce but at times you can come across people who believe they aren't able to pull certain colors off. I believe that is just a misconception and a story that people tell themselves so that they don't stand out. Wearing what makes you unique can be a vulnerable practice but one I believe everyone should cultivate because why not?
EYES&EDGE: 2019 seems to be all about self- care! What are some of your self-care rituals to keep you on your A-game?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: To stay grounded, I often meditate. I have a lot of loving friends and family, but also need to remember that my meditative time is a way for me to clear, process and channel new ideas and inspirations. I love being around nature for that. The Treehouse is also a great sanctuary for me to "get away."
EYES&EDGE: Do you ever experience artist’s block? Do you have some techniques or suggestions that help you overcome those?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: I experience artist’s block quite a bit-especially when there is a lot going on in my life. One thing that helps me is to channel that pain or emotion into even more beautiful art that others can resonate with and in turn can heal from.
EYES&EDGE: Do you have a life quote to live by? Some wisdom for the people?
SLEEPLESS MINDZ: "If you want to make a world a better place, take a look at yourself, then make that change"- Michael jackson
Jason is from Vancouver, BC. You can check out his incredible work at @sleeplessmindz on instagram. You can go support the artist by checking out his gear www.sleeplessmindz.com. This article was written and composed by Megan Gazzo.