Name YASMIN ALMOKHAMAD
Birthday IM A LEO
Where are you originally from?
Born in Russia
Where do you currently live?
Preferred art medium
PEN PAPER AND GLITTER
Hobby or interest aside from art?
Tarot, chanting , holding babies and fried chicken
HOT CHEETOS , actually all cheetos.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Frida Kahlo , Madonna , Matisse , Ari Glass , Markeidiric
Save the last dance , Pan's labyrinth
The Alchemist , Weetzie Bat, Autobiography of Angela Davis
GIPSY KINGS. Seriously, if you are reading this & aren’t familiar, get familiar.
What are 3 things you want to achieve?
Cheetos sponsorship , travel to Spain, learn to oil paint (well).
What is something you deeply love about yourself? That I am able to be compassionate to those who might not be.
“Fat people can be sad and skinny people can be sad. It's your insides that need to be right.”
How has Instagram worked for you as an artist?
Social media has been the catalyst for my career before I was doing art, I am forever grateful but forever hateful (jk). I just deactivated it for this month because I saw it affect my mental health. I can easily say I have been branding myself since I was 16 on myspace & thanks to social media I have learned how to use it as a tool to open some doors I never could have imagined.
What is your definition of art?
Briefly describe the circumstances under which you grew up?
I am a political refugee from the soviet union , my mother is Armenian & my father is Syrian . My family came to the United States with 5 dollars in hand & bought me a croissant with those 5 dollars. There was a lot of tension & confusion in my childhood, especially being an immigrant. I was also obsessed with Princess Jasmine.
How do you think these circumstances influenced your art?
Crazy, my family was over protective & hated Americans at first. I felt so confused within my identity amongst my peers. My lunches were always weird stinky cultural foods , & all the white girls at school would ask me why I am so hairy.
What would you say are your artwork’s main themes?
Vaginas, being a woman and freedom. “I LOVE YOU BUT FUCK YOU CAUSE I LOVE ME MORE”
How would you describe your style?
I suppose technically it is considered pop art and line art.
Feminism and body-positivity play a big role in what you do and who you are, what do you think shaped this worldview for you?
I think my mom in a way. She is a feminist she is also kind of a crazy woman but she has ALWAYS, always instilled self love in me. In a weird way because she was so confident , as a young girl I was so confused by some of the things she would say. I have had people make assumptions about me since I was young based off of how I look & my interests , sometimes it was true but a lot of the time I was way deeper than that.
“I LOVE YOU BUT FUCK YOU CAUSE I LOVE ME MORE”
What piece of advice would you give to young people struggling to reconcile their unique beauty with mainstream ‘beauty’ culture?
Well , first and foremost as long as you are living for yourself nobody else matters. I know of course it is easier to move & shake throughout the society we live in if you are attractive. I also know as long as you are true to yourself and do good than that will prevail over it all! Be smart , have fun & just live your life. Confidence is way sexier than sex appeal. Fat people can be sad and skinny people can be sad. It's your insides that need to be right.
“I personally do not want to neutralize gender itself. Being a woman is so very important and natural to me & I never want to lose that part of myself. What is most important is respecting all humans and their choices as long as they do not hurt others.”
Femininity stereotypes are slowly being deconstructed by certain communities. What do you think is the future of ‘femininity’?
I am very torn with this concept. I love to sit with my legs wide open and I love to grow out my leg hair which might be considered masculine.I also love glitter & pink which fall into feminine stereotypes. I think the future of femininity is going to go back to almost the way people were in 70’s. Studio 54 shit. Do as you please, you know?
Why do you think it is important to neutralize gender stereotypes? And how can we all help do that?
I think neutralizing all stereotypes is important, but I personally do not want to neutralize gender itself. I might get a lot of shit for saying that in this day & age. Being a woman is so very important and natural to me & I never want to lose that part of myself. What is most important is respecting all humans and their choices as long as they do not hurt others. I also want to say that I think it is so important for feminists’ to acknowledge the male struggle, because male stereotypes & expectations are fucked up!
Some people don’t really understand the importance of women campaigning for the normalization of body hair. Why do you think this is important?
Well, what about ethnic women who tend to have more body hair than those bald bodied ladies in magazines. That shit is crazy to me cause we spend SO much money, time ,and pain on getting rid of body hair. Physically it’s not even healthy, so why are we participating in such an unnatural process. shave if you want but don't if you don't!
“I think it is weird how there is some weird ass pretentious air in the art world.”
Photo by bvhutch.com
How does your ethnicity affect your work?
All the way . I am in this type of gray space ethnically because I am a brown girl, right. I am fair skinned so to some I am white passing, to some I am arab AF, I mean look at my regal nose. It is truly a journey to acknowledge my culture, my ancestors & not lose myself in the process of being a product of living in the states.
What do you think is a measure we can all take during Trump’s presidency to be more compassionate and understanding towards minorities?
Be intentional and listen. Actually, shut up & listen. Everyone comes from so many different places in life nobody is expected to know what the next person is going through. Active listening is the first step to understanding.
If you could change one thing in how the world works, what would it be?
Stop capitalism and colonialism, cause that is also racism and sexism. These are all crimes against humanity.
What is your opinion of the art world as it is right now? Is there anything you'd like to change?
I think it is weird how there is some weird ass pretentious air in the art world. I appreciate how DIY artists are out here creating their own opportunities, but there is still a lot of white privilege in the art world. We need more people of color, especially women to be put on and acknowledged for the magic they gift us with!
“I am in this type of gray space ethnically because I am a brown girl but it’s not as often recognized because to some I am white passing, to some I am Arab AF & it is truly a journey to acknowledge my culture and my ancestors and not lose myself in the process of being a product of living in the states.”
Describe briefly the current cultural circumstances you live in now?
My intersectionalities go deep ! I mean I am 25 (quarter life crisis always), living in a weird millennial era where I am not young enough to be 1000% internet involved. Then again I am NOT gonna do 8 years of medical school. Like my Armenian peers. Being Syrian is crazy to me, because of the current genocide in my country & having to realize how blessed I am. I am also definitely not a typical middle eastern woman, especially living in the 4th whitest state in America.
How do you think these circumstances influence your art?
Its all over my art almost in an obnoxious in your face, excessive way, Im a Leo… so I am extra AF.
Have you ever felt discriminated against because of your ethnicity and gender? If so, how have you coped with this?
After 9/11 a lot of people would call me terrorist in elementary school throughout high school, even if joking it is still ingrained in peoples thought process'. Then again it is weird cause it comes from ALL sides. People from my Armenian culture think i'm too americanized & spread rumors through church that I’m on drugs & a slut, etc… My grandma calls me crying like, “I heard this and this about you”. Like okay, yeah my nipples are out on Instagram but I also haven’t touched any drugs or dick (ok like once) in a year. So….
Have you had any struggle with mental illness and if so, would you like to share your experience with us?
I was suicidal in middle school , I had to go to a therapist for a while.I had dealt with some physical/verbal abuse in my childhood and that really took a toll on my mental health. I love my therapist now too, I struggle with a lot of depression.Staying social helps alot, so does setting boundaries with the loved ones in my life and saying NO
How do you think the internet aids/complements the art world? And how do you think it deteriorates it?
Did you feel there were a lack of opportunities for you to express your creativity and emerge as an artist? If so, what would you propose to change this?
I went to art school as a child so not really, but I wish education wise they focused on a lot more hands-on styles of education versus textbook curriculum.
What draws you towards your particular art medium? I can directly convey the message I want to share with people & there's not much reading in between the lines. This is what it is so take it or leave it. Plus I can do it ANYWHERE, I doodle on all my homework & notes & transfer my ideas to real life.
“[My intersectionalities] are all over my art almost in an obnoxious in your face, excessive way, Im a Leo… so I am extra AF.”
Artists paths are generally non-linear. Can you recall for us what your path has been like?
It’s been a long road of being one crazy ass bitch and being very erratic in my behavior, making emotional driven choices. & I do not regret one bit of it. I also had the most amazing hippie art teacher who drank wine out of her coffee cup and would let us smoke weed when I was like 14!
What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have to keep the creative juices flowing?
I had wrote something so corny before this , but to be honest , history. Old photographs of people having a good time from all centuries are so intriguing to me. Vintage porn, glam & I am obsessed with Cathedral Art.
What are you communicating with your art?
BE YOURSELF AND FREE YOURSELF
What are the main obstacles you have had to overcome as an artist?
Working with men and having to come to terms with them thinking with their dick. Some well-known art industry men totally disregard my existence because I wouldn’t entertain their advances & that hurts my feelings more than anything. At the end of the day though , people will only take you as seriously as you take yourself!
What project/series are you currently working on?
So, I am working on developing a zine with some very talented women from up & down the West coast. It is going to be fun, relevant & plugged in. I am also working on a series of photos with @BVHUTCH who is super great. I am trying to turn my art IRL, so body painting, set design, etc...
Any upcoming shows/ plans?
I have too much and nothing at all, ask me later when I have my shit together ;p
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank You for taking time to interview me , show interest in my art & what I am working on. I also want people to look into the amazing creative women I work with in the Seattle. They are SO poppin and if you like what I do , you will love them. Primarily @womenweedwifi & @bvhutch, we got some thangs brewin’. Its a feminine divine revolution this 2017 and coming years! much love & gratitude.
“It’s been a long road of being one crazy ass bitch and being very erratic in my behavior, making emotional driven choices. & I do not regret one bit of it.”