Artist in Focus: Royal Jarmon

Have you stumbled upon gray figures while browsing UGallery? Regal, ghost-like people sipping on coffee, reading a newspaper, or listening to music? You most likely discovered the work of Royal Jarmon, one of UGallery’s Art Deco dynamos. His portraits are caught in daily rituals. Each character captures the facet of individualism that become apparent when a person goes from one task to the next. His intuitive work is firmly rooted in aesthetics. Royal knows people as well as he knows art (and that’s pretty well). We caught up with him one he returned from a trip to South East Asia to talk about his artwork. Here is what he had to say.

What is your earliest art memory?
When I was in third grade I submitted a drawing for a coloring book contest. The teacher that I had submitted it to thought I had cheated and traced it. She made me redraw it in front of her. It was kinda crazy. It took me like 45 min. For me, that was a long time and i was so nervous. she was surprised to find out i wasn’t lying. oh, and i won the contest, that was the best ever.

Who and what do you draw your inspiration from?
I am finding inspiration everywhere right now. As I progress as an artist, I see the world more and more differently around me. I think everyone is so influenced in so many ways throughout life and we don’t even realize a lot of the time. Every time I see art or design or anything pretty much that I like, I would say that I am influenced. So maybe, right now, some big ones are lots contemporary artists, Dave Hickey, and geometrics.

What is one word to describe your art?

What is your favorite piece in your UGallery portfolio?
“movement: know” that’s for sure. It was a real transitional piece and means a lot to me.

Do you keep an eye on any other UGallery artists? Do you have favorites?
I really like James Cordas, he’s really forward and I enjoy his aesthetics. That’s a great pair of strengths if you ask me. Another would be Valerie Chiang. Her photograph “short-winded elations” is fantastic. I really like her unique sensibility, which is obvious through her work.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I would say anything by Basquiat as SAMO. Here’s one, “SAMO as an end to bogus pseudo intellectual. My mouth, therefore an error. Plush safe.. he think.”

If you had to give one piece of advice to an emerging artist, what would it be?
I would say spend time looking at your work. I would like to be a voice in their head saying, “Look at your work” every time they think they are done, or think they are not done. If I can’t look at my own work for a long time, why would I expect anyone else to want to really give it a serious look. I think that’s an important part of the refining process of art and that’s how the expression is voiced. So why not give a painting a good bit of that experience before it goes public? It’s like testing an invention before selling it.

For fun, coffee or tea? And what kind?
Man, it’s funny because I bounce between being really into both for long periods of time. Right now, I’m hooked on coffee. I try lots of kinds, best I’ve tried was also the most expensive. It’s cat poop coffee. Well, its really called Kopi Luwak from SE Asia. It’s definitely worth the google (such good coffee, super low acid and so smooth.)

Hmm. Cat poop. Well if your taste for coffee is anything like your taste in art, then I trust you one hundred percent! Thanks so much for sharing, Royal. Can’t wait for your new work.