This article originally appeared in Haute Macabre on December 6, 2016.
To trace with the eye the sumptuous swells and ornate, swirling shadows of Jas Helena’s art is to be drawn into an evocative world of potent feminine mysticism. Appearing both demonic and divine (or, perhaps neither) against inky Byzantine backdrops, these saints and sirens, shamans and sorceresses beckon and beguile from the canvas; a tilt of an eyebrow or lift of a lip hinting at knowledge and portents beyond your mortal understanding…or maybe just admonishing one, with an intense and commanding glare, to STFU with their mansplaining nonsense. You don’t know what these women are thinking, and perhaps that is precisely the point.
“I love the concept of a strong, powerful, mysterious woman as a constant focal point in my work,” the artist shares, while also noting visually over-the-top baroque art and dark Goya-esque works as inspirations: “..finding a happy medium…that can both be feminine and soft, yet have a subtle, darker aesthetic is pretty much what I seek to do, and without a doubt Goya and artist of the Baroque-era figured out how to do that so flawlessly.”
Fascinated by the arts at a young age, Jas Helena obsessed over drawings and illustrations by the Old Masters without fully understanding what drew her to them, but, inspired by the excitement that these classic works sparked in her, she instinctively attempted to recreate what it was that so captured her fancy. Encouraged by positive feedback from friends and teachers, she practiced her art and nurtured her abilities through school and community college. In continually learning and honing her craft, it eventually coalesced into the haunting, highly ornamental style for which she is recognized today-a style that she feels finally reflects who she is and what she wants to put out into the world.
With a portfolio that also boasts work created for such occult rock and doom-laden metal acts as Funerary, Deaf Heaven, and Ides of Gemini, one gets the sense that Jas Helena has evolved into an artist who has glimpsed beyond the veil and become a conduit for the arcane visions and revelatory dreams she has witnessed. Her penchant for the dark and obscure and all its symbolism, she asserts, makes her art and this unearthly music a perfect match.
Regarding both the powerful priestesses she painstakingly composes on the page, as well as those who may be inspired as her work: in Sabat Magazine’s Spring/Summer 2016 Maiden issue, Jas Helena observes an increased interest in occult aesthetics in young women today, and that through Instagram and other social media, the aesthetic becomes more accessible. “I see a community of bold women growing from it,” she concludes, mentioning artists Annie Stegg and Nona Limmen in this spirit, “that becomes even more important in the art world where this dark aesthetic is still an uneven playing field, dominated by men.”