Art Creatives: Jessi Jumanji

by Michelle Reed

Black people have always found a semblance of freedom in the forms of art we create. Whether it be dance, music, or illustration, a colorful aura exudes in the things that we do. We dominate our crafts and Jessi Jumanji is no different. Her vibrant schemes embody the variety in our culture.

How old are you?

Where are you from?
Raised in Memphis, TN and currently residing in Cincinnati, OH

Why the move?
I dropped out of college and took a personal break. Then my older sister accepted a new job here. I was looking for a change in scenery and decided to finish up school here. I will be graduating in May with a Bachelors in Visual Communication Design and a minor in Marketing

When did you start painting?
2009 during my sophomore year. I was going to school for Graphic Design. Basic drawing and painting were a part of the curriculum. Black and white drawings kind of bored me. So once I picked up the brush and discovered the magic of colors and different techniques, I knew it would be a part of my life forever.

Mos Def   Artist Jessi Jumanji     Pittsburgh, PA

Mos Def Artist Jessi Jumanji Pittsburgh, PA

When does your mental state or emotions come out in your work?
I am happiest when painting. Even when I'm not in the best mood, it helps take my mind to a different space, one not focused on negative energy. I can just create and have positive thoughts. I don't always paint to be in a good mood though. Sometimes painting helps me illustrate my emotions. It is much easier to cope with certain emotions when you create something that represents them on canvas, that way they no longer have to exist in your mind.

What do you do besides paint?
I have always had a love for music and poetry. When I'm not painting, I'm usually writing or making music. I love rap and hip-hop and I am working on a way to make both of those art forms intersect.

Who are your idols? (Artists or other)
My number one idol is Stevie Wonder. I think he is one of the most talented people the world will see for a very long time. He has inspired me in so many ways artistically and as a person. I was raised on it his music. When I learned to read I would read the lyric booklets in his old records. Every day I find a deeper meaning to his words.

What is your own favorite piece and why?
My favorite piece is a portrait of Erykah Badu I named "Yeyo Warrior." It’s my favorite song by her and I think it is one of my most captivating pieces.

Prince “Purple Rain” Artist Jessi Jumanji     Pittsburgh, PA

Prince “Purple Rain” Artist Jessi Jumanji Pittsburgh, PA

Where do you expect art will take you?
I couldn't even tell you. Every day I am amazed at how my art has taken me to places I could never imagine. All I can do is create and wait on the universe to return the love.

Have you ever collaborated?
I usually work solo. But I definitely would love to do that very soon. I have worked with other artists to promote work individually but it would be nice to build a strong team of painters to represent the new school.

If you could give any message/ Quote to the black community what would it be?
Commit your life to the uplifting of your people. Get involved in the community and pour love and positivity into everything you do.


Photos and information:

Social Media:

Facebook: Jessi Jumanji
Instagram: @JessiJumanji