I was born in a humble, industrial town in England to an Indian father and African mother. My identity did not connect with India or belong in England, I was a bonafide Hybrid. A boy from two faiths immersed in a tricultural world, none of which made any sense. Something deep inside of me knew it was all make-believe, a construct of some kind, a man-made dream. My solitary option was to unveil the innermost truth inside of me, in amongst the haze of grey skies and colourful gods. Fast forward to where we are now, I am still that inner child, but with experiences that have impacted reality forever. In between countless, mundane, rainy days, I Iived and breathed with ash baba's at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. I travelled across Europe with Arabic folk musicians and dancers. I immersed myself in mind-bending rituals with native American shaman in California. I taught art to street children in shanty towns across India. I numerously exhibited art for royalty in London. For a brief moment, I escaped my reality, nothing to my name, no status within any community, and no material possessions, just years of pain, growth and unbelievable magic.
I am Jai Sol.
I am blessed with the opportunity to create and share.
I chose to express my creativity through visuals, colours and patterns. My aim: to share my experiences through the medium of art. No matter the subject or experience, everything is open to interpretation. From what I witness, to what I learn, to what I appear to understand. My role is to simply question and record it.
From a young age, I was heavily exposed to multiple forms of organised culture. People behaving in unnatural ways to convince me to partake in ritual or process. Some behaviours would relate to money, some to God, others a mixture of the two with elements thrown in. Each behaviour derived from stories and traditions, representing ideas from ancient to recent history. For me, as a boy, it all was very confusing and beautiful. It felt as though I was witnessing an elaborate act, a play where I was an extra as well as the central star. My only option then was to absorb the experiences and trust in my instinct to reveal truths. As I evolved so did the truth and its form. First came rebellion, next affirmation and finally observation.
I began to observe the world in front of me, studying its literal, linear form while exploring earth, nature; its spiritual abstract form. I also looked at myself from a neutral perspective, beyond the conditioning, to view and review my form. This curiosity led me to many complex ideas and profound experiences, which made me question it even more. Eventually, I came to a peaceful understanding of the chaos, it all exists for one singular purpose, to consume the outer me and replenish the inner me.
With a devotion for creativity and spirit for uncertainty, I discovered art as my truth. Twenty summers later, I am here.
My art is a display of significant and meaningful moments, captured and then transformed. My version of history looks different from those who created it, the future can look like anything as it's yet to be created, meaning the truth may be in the present moment. My art presents moments, stories and events from the perspective of an onlooker, a participant, and a God who are all witnessing visible and invisible truths. You could say that I aim to visually and emotively present an alternative version of reality. It can be a thought, an idea, an event. I merely show you my expression with love and awareness, in the hope that your mind and spirit respond or react to it.
Art is my vessel for learning, developing and growing in this world, as well as delving deep into the idea of it, whatever comes next, comes next.
Jai endeavours to create art both powerful in its message, and beautiful to behold. Using a digital format, he combines traditional art techniques to create depth and texture to enrich the art and his spirit to convey the story. However, art is merely a reflection of his curiosity, compassion and openness to exploring alternative perspectives. He has an awareness which guides him to look deeper into the lives of others, and to see how meaning is attached to differences in individual circumstances.
Each artwork is inspired by experiences he has had throughout his life journey, observations of what he witnessed and perceived. His works are snapshots, captured and then exaggerated with colour and pattern. A celebration of the experience made to encourage others to expand their understanding. His message is simple, yet touches on an instinctual desire within all people for acceptance; how we are perceived, how financially wealthy we are, or conversely how desperately poor, “we are all just people”. In essence, his intentions are to continue to create art inspired by these thoughts and ideas, and in doing so, deliver a message to the observer that allows their minds to be opened to a more wholesome alternative; wealth, ethnicity and religion aside, we are all the same, and that is the reality.
Jai is very close to his family, and feels they have inspired him to become the artist that he is today. As a child, he was heavily impacted by monumental cultural and social events that forced both of his parents to adopt England as their new home due to political unrest in their respective countries, India and Africa. His childhood was rich with teachings of Hinduism and Christianity, mixed with the English culture that surrounded him. This allowed him to appreciate diversity, but also provided more conflict of interest, concerning expected behaviours and further constraints. At home, he was immersed in philosophy, arts, and spiritual practices from South Asia. Outside he experienced British values and traditions in a working-class environment. This contrast shaped his then perception of the world and inspired a curiosity to discover his identity and place in it. Fortunately for Jai, he had a strong and devoted mother who helped him to appreciate everything for what it was. Her teachings gradually seeping into his thoughts and creativity and influencing him to harbour feminine principles of love and compassion. She guided her son to be himself at all times but still, Jai regularly questioned the behaviours of people around him, the restrictions placed on him and others to become functioning members of society, to fit specific roles. As a member of this society, his perceived self is indeed immersed in this movement, but he is led by an ever present inner voice, which guides him to look beyond, to observe, and to challenge the motives which drive these human made constructs. In doing so, he has discovered the pattern of politics, religion and popular culture, are used to create purposeful conditioning, in which to lead people to maintain absolute faith in the universe. However, through education and exploration of alternative resources, he has developed the ability to see beyond, and therefore create a response or reaction to this collection of ideas, which determines his expression, and through his art, he is able to share it with purity. Each artwork serves to provide an invitation to watch how Jai perceives himself as he looks at the world, and strives to make sense of the many troubling factors that some people shelter themselves from, as they embrace the ignorance provided by distractions and false priorities.
Having little formal training in art, Jai developed artistic methods over a period of years in which he devoted himself entirely to exploring and perfecting his technique, enabling him to create the art exactly as he imagines it to be. An illustrator and fine artist in his early years, Jai's grasp of traditional processes was evident in his sketches and renaissance styled religious paintings. Not content with manually creating, he merged photographs and digital graphics with his drawings and paintings, eventually discovering his distinctive style. A wide variety of life experiences inspired his growth during his apprenticeship years, using his limited knowledge of India, but inspired by his heritage, he went in search of a more authentic appreciation of reality. Always hoping to discover another level of information, that would enable him to explore his thirst for understanding. Throughout India, he met such a variety of people that had their roles within society, some of which he didn't fully appreciate until he looked deeper. Some survived squalor, others embraced life regardless of what they had, but each taught Jai something about how the world as a collective, view and judge circumstance. One experience stood out to him. He visited a school in dire poverty with the intention of teaching the children about art. However, he approached without an understanding of who he would meet, and what their environment indeed was, a lesson he learned quickly. Humbled, he returned without the technology he had first arrived with and immersed himself openly into their world, to find that he had so much more to learn. This experience was pivotal in teaching Jai about the real wealth of life and the richness that is located internally. Pieces he has created, depict individuals in their own unique story, some of whom are free from constraints, others who shine from within the human-made barriers they face. Men who live entire existences so very alien to us that the stories about them and their exploration of dimensions of truth are like that of fairy tales. Women who captivate with their beauty, strength and essence. All of whom are immortalised in such a way that a story is told in every image. For example, one piece; Gold Rush, is inspired by children of poverty, who are so captivated by the wealth of the city, that they are swept away by the allure, to give their lives in exchange for a dream never to be recognised. Another example is the piece: Self-Realisation, inspired by the ash babas in the mountains in north India. Jai shared some incredible moments with a tribe of spiritual gurus, who would absorb the environment and meditate for days. They aimed to create a collective energy field and project it into the galaxy, towards specific planets, knowing this energy will return and impact the earth in 500 years.
Jai's experiences in India have had a profound effect on his perception of the ancient world, and offered many new enquiries about the current, modern world. His travels across Europe and America, presented him with another set of questions, mainly based on beliefs and behaviour. He saw the contrast and similarities between the two, culturally, historically and spiritually everybody appeared to be on the same timeline. However, our intentions were different. This duality was visible to Jai and gave birth to many of the concepts which theme his more contemporary collections of art. For example, one piece; Ages, is inspired by a westernised observation of man's recent history. The artwork conveys five ages of man, from agricultural to industrial, to technology and spiritual. Each period is impacting the earth which in the art is expressed by the hand. Another example is the piece, Emoji Love. An artwork depicting a romantic moment between two lovers made from thousands of emoticons. Each emoticon representing emotion and feeling that makes up the overall image of the lovers. His art is his way of asking questions and opening up enquiries, as well as closing some.
Each piece created provides an opportunity for internal discussion, as every individual has a unique perception based on their experiences. This perspective allows the viewer to identify with elements of the image that speak to them, that open them to the message. Like windows allowing a brief insight into unfamiliar worlds, some may inspire hope, others perhaps inform of desolation, but each is created with a warmth and beauty to draw the eye and absorb the mind with every detail. In viewing Jai's art, there is the opportunity to see beyond the image to the people represented, the influences that have guided Jai to complete these works.
Jai has worked with talented individuals from around the world to develop inspirational themes, concepts and artworks showcased on this site.
RECORDING ARTIST, LONDON
EVENTS ORGANISER, AMSTERDAM
DOCUMENTORY MAKER, NEPAL
SYED ASIF AHMED
3D ANIMATOR, DUBAI
CHOREOGRAPHER, LOS ANGELES
PHOTOGRAPHER, NEW DELHI
PHOTOGRAPH DIRECTOR, CHENNAI
YOGI, SPIRITUALIST, BALI
VISUAL ARTIST, SURAT
MARTA VAL COHEN
BLACK ACTIVIST, NEW YORK
DANCER, SPIRITUALIST, MEXICO
RESEARCH EXPERT, BRUGES
RASHID S AHMED