Bat in the Hat: Interview with Toywave Expert Jasmine

Jasmine, also known as nursery, can be seen strolling along web paths in search of the nearest cyber sandbox, traveling through kaleidoscopic childhood dreams and, on a good day, playing in the pit of a PEZ dispenser. Taking circa 1990-esque nostalgia to another level, she eats, sleeps and survives off of Play-Doh, crayons, balloon pools, propeller hats and primary colors through a personal aesthetic baptized Toywave. Let’s launch ourselves back to the past and take a trip into Jasmine’s Crayola-colored mind:

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Can you tell us about Toywave? How do you define it?

Well to me toywave, kidwave, kidcore, whatever else you could call it, is a creative style of imagery that fits into the playful, high-contrast, and colorful archetypes of childhood presented in a more offbeat, almost psychedelic manner. The primary colors, clowns, neon bounce houses, obscure children’s art, would be just a few of the core components that make up the aesthetic. Pretty much what a dream would be like falling asleep in a fun center ball pit or watching 90’s clown VHS tapes.

What inspired you to create this style?

Y’know I really can’t say for sure, because I never intended to create anything. It happened on its own I guess, as all good things do. I’ve been collecting old children’s toys and nursery-esque things for a good amount of time, and about a year or so ago I became really fascinated in children’s art.. like the overall visual appeal of kindergarten drawings and collages and clay sculptures really intrigued me. I guess all of it eventually grew on Tumblr into what my blog is now and “Toywave”.

What is your opinion on other styles like Normcore and Cutester? Do you think they are too far fetched?

Haha all l have to say is that minimalism sells!

Would you attach a particular music genre to your aesthetic?

I would have to say that out of all existing music genres out there right now, noise music made with circuit bent toys is very analogous with the whole vibe of Toywave. For a while now I’ve been really wanting to do some sort of electronic musical project myself, but we’ll just have to see.

Are you reminiscent of your childhood or of a particular era?

My childhood was near to the complete opposite of my current aesthetic funny enough. I wasn’t really interested in playing with a lot of toys (besides a few dolls) or doing a lot of fun ‘kid stuff’. I was extremely quiet around other children my age and spent most of my time writing short stories and reading. I remember when I was about seven my bedroom was FILLED of just mostly books. Now I’m turning eighteen soon and my room is all filled with old kids’ trinkets and toys and it’s the most childlike it’s ever been.

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What is your most important childhood possession?

I think it would be an old copy of ‘The Real Mother Goose’, a book with a bunch of old nursery rhymes and illustrations. It used to really creep me out but I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.

Do you hope to create some sort of movement with Toywave or is this purely a look?

Honestly, I’d like for it to remain purely a look.

Do you believe art can trigger social change? If so, how?

Of course. I think art, that when harnessed correctly can be used as a powerful vocalization tool, especially for the struggles of artists of color, to educate and reach out to the mainstream eye and inspire others to make a conscious effort towards change. It has a lot of power.

Say you had ultimate control over the world. What would you change first?

Well first off…sun visors would be back to the mainstream immediately.

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It seems other people are claiming to be the originators of Toywave. Would you claim this style as completely yours? If so, how do you feel about it being appropriated?

The only thing that really bothers me is how much recognition people can get from mainstream sources for just being a white art student wearing a colorblock t-shirt and claim to have coined a term and a ‘brand new innovative idea’. I mean..I’ve been here for a while and I hate to blow my own horn, but I really think I’ve done Toywave/Kidwave a lot better than any other knockoffs I’ve seen. But y’know, you can’t ever stop artistic ideas from being stolen and reclaimed and made into some new NYC subculture, it’s just bound to happen.

There is a history of black women being uncredited for their work. How do you think that could be fixed?

Yes, there definitely is! The creative ideas and work of Black women all across the world have always been appropriated, fetishized, stolen, and destroyed by white people who feel a sense of entitlement/dominance through the system of white supremacy. I personally do not really know how it can completely be fixed, but I do know the white gaze in the art world is something that needs to be challenged.

Who do you look up to?

I would have to say my mother. Also, myself. Always be there for yourself.

Care to unveil your plans to rule the world?

I can’t but you’ll certainly know when it happens!

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Follow Jasmine’s blog here and keep up with this Fab Bat doing her thing! Got a personal aesthetic of your own? Comment…it’s good for your soul.

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