I’m Jay Freestyle, born and raised in South Africa, currently residing in Amsterdam. My childhood was spent in South Africa, when I was around 18 my mother remarried so we decided to emigrate to the Netherlands. Growing up I was always drawing as a hobby, it wasn’t until much later in life that I started to take art more seriously as a possible career choice. I was working with my parents in a family retail business selling fashion jewellery/piercings/accessories. Through selling piercings I began to have an interest in body modifications. I quickly learnt to pierce and through that began tattooing. I’m a self-taught artist with a basic art education, I wish I had the time to be able to go back to school and study art&design. I guess I’m influenced by other artists who’s work I admire. I appreciate all art and think there is something to learn from all styles. Certain styles have traits that belong to that style and I simply take bits and pieces from everything I like and put it all together through my own artistic filter to create a design that is my own. I’m constantly trying to evolve myself and my art. I found my style for tattooing rather quickly, as for painting and drawing I’ve just recently found a style that I enjoy and that I now wish to pursue and grow to the level that I’ve reached with tattooing.
My shibari paintings which I’m in the beginning phase of developing are just about me painting things I like. I’m not one of those artists that are trying to convey a message or anything, I don’t believe in all that symbolism stuff. My days in retail have taught me that that’s all just a selling point, the second you give someone the illusion that something has a meaning it sells much faster regardless of whether they actually even like the object. I know a lot of artists who use this to their advantage and pretend to be all deep and emotional because that shit sells. I’m not like that, I’m very blunt and have always believed that art is just art. In this case, I’m referring to visual art for my paintings, to me I’m just creating something that I find it visually pleasing. I think that is what visual art should be, something that is just visually pleasing to the viewer. I’ve taken my love for both painting and Japanese rope bondage and merged them together to create a piece of art. Painting people has always been one of my favourite subject matters to paint, so now I’m merely painting them in different positions that you would see in bondage and adding real rope through the canvas to create an added mixed-media effect to give it a little something extra.
It all starts with first finding a workable reference, it’s a little trickier then just a normal painting because the position that the person is in that I’m painting needs to be in very specific angle that when I add the ropes later it will correspond correctly, because the canvas is flat and I’m trying to portray a 3 dimensional object, the ropes will always be from a frontal perspective meaning I can’t freely use any position because I can’t make the ropes go in and out of perspective. That’s usually the hardest part is getting different reference images because they all have to be either profile view or straight on, those are the only 2 angles that work. I sometimes use my wife as a model to get the correct reference photo I need to make the painting. Once the painting is done, I use a craft knife and cut holes in the canvas and thread the rope through. With the suspension pieces, there’s a lot more work and planning involved because I have to build extra support beams on the back of the canvas so that I can actually suspend the painting at multiple points on the canvas to create a painting that acts like a person that is being suspended. I reinforce all the holes with glue and duct tape at the end.
I love art, I live and breathe to create art and share it with the world. My wife and I are into the fetish scene so it’s nice to combine art with something that I enjoy in my personal life as well. The more you enjoy what you’re doing the better the chances are of you succeeding. With tattooing I’ve almost accomplished everything I set out to do, now I want to become as equally accomplished as a painter so that I can balance the 2 out. I want to have my own exhibitions in galleries/museums around the world. Publish a book with all my works. Perhaps teach workshops/seminars. Design for large brands.