JermIX: Don't Walk This Way (Photo by Byron Dauncey)

Notebooks: The Blue Light Project – JermIX

JermIX: Don't Walk This Way (Photo by Byron Dauncey)
JermIX: Don’t Walk This Way (Photo by Byron Dauncey)

JermIX is one of the artists that inspired me during the writing of my new novel, The Blue Light Project. It’s possible to know about JermIX (aka Jerm, aka Jerm9ine) and not even realize you know about him. That’s because he is one of the most prolific and dedicated street artists I’ve encountered. I’ll be posting lots more about him and other street artists over the next months, but for now, just check out this image.

This beautiful shot was taken by Bryon Cameraman, but it captures a lot of what I admire about Jerm’s work. I sorta think of him as an annotation engine. He looks at the world and comments on it, but in a physical, on-site way. He’s like a walking breathing pop-up video. And he stops you in your tracks sometimes. Which is a rare phenomenon in our rushed and overly scheduled lives.

I think that exact quality is what arrested me about him, and opened up a window into the universe of street art. It’s difficult to explain exactly *why* Jerm does what he does. I mean, where does this phenomenon come from exactly? When I share more photos of his work, perhaps you’ll find yourself asking the same question. There is a ton of Jerm art out there on the streets fo Vancouver, a ton of hours spent postering and riding trains and doing all the crazy stuff that Jerm does. Is it about money? Well that seems doubtful. Fame? Maybe, although even if the Wooster Collective publishes a Jerm picture from time to time (which is a huge kudo in street art), the result is not exactly fame in the conventional sense of it.

It’s a bit of a mystery, in other words. And asking Jerm doesn’t entirely clear up the mystery either. But I think that’s exactly what makes the work powerful. It seems to respond to some inner urgency. And in a world that is highly programmed to understand everything in terms of profit and personal agendas of advancement (and novelists are certainly guilty of this too) I think it’s kind of encouraging to be reminded occasionally that there are mysteries left.

Stay tuned for more posts of Jerm’s work, as well as many other artists who I’ve come to admire.