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Jasmin Issaka

First published May 11, 2023

Jasmin puts the ‘multi’ in multi-disciplinary! This colourful Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Artist and Musician is a self professed ‘creative soul’ with a distinct, psychedelic style. Jasmin’s journey is as much a geographical one, as it is creative. Born in the Netherlands, Jasmin forged a path to rainy Manchester by way of Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Loughborough. “I’ve moved around so much that I’ve started to feel that the destination isn’t the most important thing. For me, at the moment, it’s about planting roots, showing up and growing with the people around me.”

Jasmin is one to watch, having worked with a whole host of exciting clients, exhibited and sold work internationally, and appeared on TV! We can’t wait to see what Jasmin does next. Read on to discover how she’s finding being a full-time freelancer, having taken the leap at the end of last year, how she’s preparing for upcoming projects (maximum mental health maintenance is required), and why she made her uni tutors frown with ‘really bad’ work. We love the honesty, Jasmin! Let’s get into it…

Jasmin Issaka

Photo Credit: Andrew Aitch

Jasmin, what’s your creative occupation?

I am a Manchester-based freelance graphic designer, psychedelic-style illustrator, visual artist and musician. A queen of all trades and enthusiast of all!

I have always been a quirky creative soul. My catch-phrase (yes, I have a catch-phrase…) is “jazzy by name and jazzy by nature!”. I naturally gravitate towards pathways that involve creative problem-solving, strategic visual applications or colourful visual storytelling through design, illustration, art and recently a little bit of animation as well. But overall, I have a passion for creating. I mostly excel when I get to learn, research, challenge and experiment with conventional creative applications and have the opportunity to recreate them in a thoughtful, vibrant and colourful manner. Showcasing people’s stories and ideas in a familiar but different and impactful perspective.

She Afriq design work

Where have you been?

My family hail from Ghana in West-Africa. I was born in the Netherlands but, at around 11 years old, I was catapulted across the sea to Milton Keynes in the UK. Since then, I have been slowly crawling up to the North. I went from studying Art & Design at Milton Keynes College to studying Graphic design at Nottingham Trent University. I briefly lived in Loughborough and now I’m in the lovely rainy city, Manchester.

I would be lying if I said I was a model university student. However, one thing that is pure and true is that I made my tutors frown with my work. Some of it was bad, and the rest was really bad! I cringe when I look back. But I had lots of fun learning and discovering what I was capable of. My uni days were filled with experimenting with design styles, digital techniques, playing around with mixed media, photographing whatever inspired me. At one point I almost burned our kitchen trying to bake – yes bake – different paints. At the last possible minute of my final year, my wacky shenanigans turned into the visual digital style that I’m known for today. Bold and colourful design and a contemporary, playful, psychedelic illustration style.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with various clients including the Manchester International Festival and Universal Music Recordings, and I’ve been on the BBC TV show ‘Home is where the Art is.’ I’ve also sold my work all over the world, and with commercial and independent retailers such as; the Notts Tourist Centre, Handmade in Nottingham and Kenji in Manchester. Plus, I’ve exhibited some of my work with Cotton MCR and the West Art collective in Manchester.

Manchester Ancoats illustration

I would be lying if I said I was a model university student. Some of [my work] was bad, and the rest was really bad! JASMIN ON EXPERIMENTING WITH DESIGN STYLES AT UNI

Kenji store pop up

Where are you now?

Since 2019 I’ve settled in Manchester and really enjoy calling it home. There are so many creative and talented people that I’m meeting, connecting and working with. It definitely hasn’t been boring for me since I moved here!

At the moment I’m working on marketing myself further as a freelance multi-disciplinary graphic designer and Illustrator. I only took a proper leap into being a full-time freelancer around the end of 2022. It’s been a rollercoaster journey, but I’m finding my feet one step at a time. I’ve really enjoyed the different projects I’ve worked on so far and the fantastic clients I’ve worked with and hope this will continue to grow.

I’m also taking part in more art exhibitions, like the Art Corner hosted by Happening in Manchester, planning a group exhibition with Fuse MCR, and I’m excited to be part of the Factory sounds 2023 music project.

Nana Buluku digital illustration

Where are you going?

I’ve moved around so much that I’ve started to feel that the destination isn’t the most important thing. For me, at the moment, it’s about planting roots, showing up and growing with the people around me. So I’m really happy to be part of a vibrant creative community and building great relationships.

I’m mostly focusing on establishing myself further as a professional multi-disciplinary graphic designer and funky illustrator. So I’m always doing my best trying to expand my skills and creativity. I hope to develop my portfolio enough to get represented by an agency and work with bigger teams and on bigger projects, and get more involved with local creative projects and people as I feel working together with people inspires creative growth.

Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?

I have a really busy week ahead so I’m getting a head start preparing for projects, events and deadlines coming up. I like to keep busy, but that can sometimes lead to taking on too much. So I’m rescheduling non-urgent projects and scheduling some personal time for maximum mental health maintenance <3

It’s got to be done! Thank you, Jasmin. Be sure to visit Jasmin’s website, and follow Jasmin’s work on Instagram, too.


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