By iana velez
ART & MUSIC
“Do you remember when you were too cool for LOVE? When you were too busy being tough or macho to let any one know that you actually have feelings? Well, were you really tough? Because guess what…that shit is over…love is on fire. All the cool kids are into it. And I’m proud to say that I think love is tough, cool, masculine, AND manly. And NOW is a great time to talk about it. So get into it…get on the love train with me, and if you’re not, then start learning. Learn to love LOVE. Because love can change the world.”
Bold. Colorful. Happy. Scroll through Instagram and Jason Naylor’s art is sure to catch your eye. With messages of positivity delivered in his signature syle, when you see his work, you can’t help but smile. We chatted with Jason to learn more about the man who put the smile on our face.
Q. YOU ARE KNOWN FOR YOUR BOLD, BRIGHT BEAUTIFUL MURALS THAT EXPRESS MESSAGES OF POSITIVITY. TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT.
I think i’ve always been a pretty positive person, like sorta relentlessly optimistic. I like to look for the silver lining in everything and I guess i’ve kind of discovered that most people really respond to and enjoy positivity and optimism. Something I realized a few years ago was that there is this world of positive quotes and motivational messaging and its huge – but its a smidge cheesy in terms of design. That “motivational world” is full of beautiful messages that resonate with me and millions of people, but the messages come on tacky refrigerator magnets with sad font choices and unfortunate typographic designs.
I started putting up my own positive messages in an application completely opposite the fridge – the street. There’s something magically vulnerable about putting your art on the streets because it is an open forum for any and all to love, despise, photograph, celebrate – even destroy (but please don’t do that). It’s the most public forum to express any message, so what better place to express positivity, color and love? Visually, street art has edge to it, but I believe that feelings are the new edge. Love is the new black. And vulnerability is the new chic. So to me, bright colors framed in black is the perfect way to design a message of love for the street. And I sincerely hope my designs are a little better than the ones found on the refrigerator magnets.
Q. WE HAVE ASKED A LOT OF OUR COMMUNITY IN THIS ISSUE TO SHARE WITH US ADVICE THEY WOULD GIVE TO THEIR YOUNGER SELF. IF YOU COULD SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I often think about baby me, and how crazy I was. I grew up in a very stringent religion/culture so I went through the expected rebellion to escape it. But crazy as I may have been, I feel that I wouldn’t be the “me” I am now (and love). However, here are a few things to say to that guy in hopes of sparing some unnecessary troubles.
IT’S OK TO BE YOU.
This is the biggest one. My whole life I felt people were telling me what to do and who to be. In order to feel like I was myself, I had to prove that I wasn’t like anyone else by being the opposite. This is a disaster, because the opposite of what you think people expect of you, is not necessarily who you are. And who you REALLY are IS cool. So f**k what people expect of you altogether, and be comfortable with you are. Easy to say, hard to do.
I have gone through a lot of extremes in terms of behavior, appearance and opinion. Extremes often affect the balance in the system, and lack of balance causes unrest. Peace and happiness are more easily found when you have balance in your life, so practice moderation in things. Balance things out a bit, and you’ll find yourself at peace more frequently.
This one is huge, and easy. Gratitude can solve all your problems in seconds, and it’s the easiest and most effective way to change your attitude. Remind yourself to feel thankful for the good, the bad, and the difficult. Feel thankful for the things that are easy, thereby enabling you to endure the challenges. Feel grateful for the pain so you know what it feels like when its gone. Practice gratitude. Do it.
Q. THE THEME OF OUR ISSUE IS TRUTH. WHAT DOES TRUTH MEAN TO YOU?
This takes us right back to my advice to “Jr. me.” Its ok to be you. Understanding who you are relies on being honest about what really is TRUE to you. It’s a simple concept, but in practice it can be difficult. Being honest with ourselves is something that I’m sure we can all improve, and I think it’s safe to say we, as a culture, don’t do this enough. What do I really like? What do I really think about life? What kind of music do I like?
Start small, ask yourself what do I want for dinner? And then notice that your opinion will begin with scanning your expectations of what others may want, and weighing those into your opinion. DON’T DO THAT! Stay in your lane, don’t worry about what others want or like. What is it that YOU want. Just you. So that’s a little bit on being honest with who you are, what you want and being yourself.
Now TRUTH itself is a bigger concept that I think relates to the way one experiences reality. And it speaks to your core values. What is true to me may be different than what is true to you. Here are couple of my truths: It’s true that kindness is the key the success. It’s true that I am often reminded of how far I can get in life by being nice. It’s true that I will never regret being the bigger person. It’s true that I can rise above my fears, I have done it before and I will do it again. It’s true that I have the power to be the best me I choose to be. And it’s true that that me, is good enough for me.