TAUREAN TALENT: YAZMIN MONET BUTCHER
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Graphic design, illustrator, co-founder of GXXRLS
My name is Yazmin Monet Butcher and I’m a self-taught graphic designer, illustrator and co-founder of an all-female creative agency called GXXRLS in Toronto. I graduated from Ryerson University’s Fashion Communication’s program in 2014 and have been working non-stop ever since. I love comedy, music and tattoos - oh, and food. My birthday is May 9, making my star sign a Taurus. We are known to be resourceful (yes), confident (Yass) and stubborn (mhmm); our ruling planet is Venus, therefore I’m hella romantic and HELLA persistent.
What is the relationship between your graphic designs and how you initially viewed and were introduced to art?
Art was always a very big part of my life growing up - my mother’s an artist and would always have my siblings and I sit around the kitchen table and paint/draw/create with music (classical, disco, rock, etc.) playing in the background. Seeing my mothers work and the work of illustrators and designers always gave me a strong feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s a feeling I still get to this day and a feeling I hope that people get when viewing my work.
When I first started drawing, it was either Pokemon or illustrations of models I would see in magazines or on Fashion Television. Initially, I wanted to be a fashion designer - I would watch every collection I could and would sketch endlessly, as often as possible. It was my dream that didn’t fade until I went to University for fashion and lost all passion for it. But then I found graphic design and here I am!
My work now isn’t necessarily fashion (or Pokemon) related, but that’s something I think I want to re-introduce into my designs.
What traits about your star sign most resonate with you?
Known for being practical, ambitious and sensual, the people born under the Zodiac Sign Taurus have an eye for beauty. They tend to be good with finances, and hence, make efficient financial managers. Generous, down-to-earth, patient, independent.
I am very ambitious - just last year I started to take improv classes, piano classes and taught myself how to stick-and-poke. I wouldn’t say I’m sensual haha but I enjoy sex… a lot. I also wouldn’t say I have ‘an eye for beauty,’ but rather a good eye for design and style, but again, that’s very subjective. I have 0 patience - something I’ve been trying to work on but, it takes a lot of patience... so you see my dilemma. I’m pretty down-to-earth, very chill and very independent.
What do you think the colour pink is doing for female identifying art right now?
Pink was the colour assigned to girls and women by a capitalist culture, but when female identifying artists use it now, I feel like it’s a deliberate choice. I’m not saying we’re ‘taking the colour back’, but that it represents the strength we as women have. It represents the endless, hour-less and countless battles we have faced. It says, yes, I’m a woman and YES, I’m using pink in my art, and wearing pink clothing and having pink hair.
What do you think graphic design communicates / provokes more so then other art forms?
Graphic design is all about problem-solving - so brand identity, advertising, web design and product design are a few of the things that I develop with the use of typography, photography and illustration. I wouldn’t say that graphic design provokes more than other art forms, but I’d say it’s a great way to communicate via visuals. For me, graphic design is the best way to communicate my thoughts and feelings because I can do so much on such a compact tool - my computer.
I think graphic design is a true compass of the times - like fashion, there are trends that come and go, some of which we wish never saw the light of day.
How does the internet affect you?
The internet is a necessary evil. It used to affect me a lot more when I first started using social media - I was on it all the time, constantly picking up my phone a second after I put it down. It made me feel gross because 1) I was wasting time, 2) I was obsessing over this instant gratification of ‘likes’ from strangers, and 3) I was getting envious of people I didn’t even know, letting their ‘lives’ affect the happiness of mine. Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long to acknowledge this and I started to only go on when I needed to. I was using it as (and still do) a ‘portfolio’, so it was necessary for me to be on it as I get a lot of work via Instagram. Social media for me now is an amazing way for me to connect with people all over the world! And yes, sometimes I get a little scroll-happy and forget why I was on there in the first place, but once I snap out of it, I just turn on some music and get back to what it was I was working on.
Considering a majority of your work means looking at a screen, do you have glasses? And if so, what age did you get them?
Haha yes I do have glasses! I started wearing them very young - I believe it was in grade 3 when I got my first pair. I remember the eye doctor telling me that I didn’t need to wear them everyday, “only when I was reading”, but because I’m extra as hell, I wore them everyday because I thought they were so cool. Cut to me at age 26, not being able to see without glasses or contacts. My vision is terrible, and staring at a computer all day, everyday definitely does not help.
What’s a piece of advice you’d want to give your future self?
A piece of advice that I’d want my future self to always remember is that you’re not promised tomorrow. Take chances everyday as you’ll regret the ones you don’t. This is something I try to live by each day. It’s definitely not easy, but bliss is on the other side of fear. I’d also tell myself to never stop being who you are - it’s what makes you unique and stand out from the crowd. It’s hard to try and give my future self advice as I hope I’ll be a slightly better version of myself haha.
A practice that I’d hope to continue in the future would be meditating each morning and practicing yoga as often as possible. I really try to be active in bettering my mind, body (sometimes) and soul and would love to keep that going as I start to get older (and hopefully wiser).