A series that spotlights the inspiring women who are building inspiring things.
Jasmin Hernandez is the founder of Gallery Gurls, a digital space celebrating women in the arts. She is doing incredible work ensuring women of color are brought to the forefront of the art world. We're pretty obsessed! Jasmin also spoke at our launch event in June 2016, so she is a long-time friend of Tactile. Follow Jasmin on Instagram, you will be happy you did.
Why did you start Gallery Gurls?
I started Gallery Gurls as a platform to share my voice about what I loved about the art world. What I loved most was being stimulated and blown away by all of these incredible female artists I was meeting and whose art I was engaging with. Art has always been a big part of my life. I I started going to galleries and museums since my college days at Parsons in the 2000s. So going to openings on Thursdays in Chelsea became this hobby I did weekly. That hobby then became a ritual, and now this ritual has become a lifestyle and a career choice. It's both a pleasure and an obligation to write about women artists including female-identified artists. I profile all kinds of women working in all kinds of disciplines. But of course, as a Latinx female and a woman of color, I have to keep a deep focus on WOC artists because as with everything else in society we are severely underrepresented.
After working in media, what overlap do you see in the journalism world and the art world?
I see the rise of the alpha-female! It’s definitely the universal celebration of women (women of all backgrounds owning their agency) which is visible in both the media world and the art world. On a macro-level, of course the Lenny newsletter and what Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner are doing. Lenny has a very authentic voice, and I can always find engaging content I can relate to like - Melina Matsoukas, Lisa Yuskavage, and Maria Cornejo - all under one roof. I really respect the more niche online platforms like Hey Vivala, which is solely dedicated to Latina millenials, both Hannah Magazine and Beyond Classicly Beautiful, two online magazines focused on applauding the complexity and beauty of young black women. Top Rank Magazine is another great example ( and founded by my writer friend Marquita Harris), an exciting bi-annual print edition highlighting women from all industries: philanthropy, entrepreneurship, education, visual arts, literature, cinema, and music.
What was your most exciting day as a founder? What happened? Why was it the best?
I would have to say Gallery Gurls' fifth anniversary event that was recently held at Twitter's HQ in NYC. It was so incredible to see how the NYC art community believe and support Gallery Gurls. I moderated a special conversation on visibility for WOC in art and media spaces, and the panelists, Jasmine Wahi, Marquita Harris, Janel Martinez, and Ayana Evans, brought gems of experience and genius words to the conversation. I received so many emails after the event, the dialogue resonated with all kinds of people, they felt a connection to the topics discussed. That's exactly what these conversations are meant to do, but you then of course need social action after this.
What is your biggest struggle in the hustle? (Be honest!)
I would say time and money. Not having enough time for the site, when you work FT or you're booked on a longterm gig. Then adding my paid side projects to this equation. So I find myself drowning at times. Then finding ways to monetize the site, which I love, and want to convert to my FT role. My current FT gig is great because I'm booked for 10 out of 12 months, and have those two months to travel and focus on the site.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Research. I’m constantly devouring content to stay in the know and to share on my social channels.There is just nothing more important than digesting information and educating yourself about the world you want to be a part of. Connect with people offline IRL at events and online through social platforms. You will eventually become a visible face and become part of a community. Also know your peers in your industry, I'm aware of all my counterparts and we are all mutually respectful and encouraging of each other, it's a really great feeling. For the longest time I kept thinking I needed a second degree ( like an MA in Arts Administration or Art History ) to enter the art world, and though it would be nice to have one, I think all the years I spent self-educating myself on contemporary art and having traveled the world over, visiting prestigious museums and galleries is enough for me.
What is the item on your to do list that you wish you never had to do?
Transcribing interviews, they can just be tedious at times.
If there was a brand/marketing/PR genie that would hand you one achievement, what would it be?
I would say tapping into my community and choosing compelling subjects. When the women I interview share their articles on social media, other people are so happy for them and cheer them on. It warms my heart that to see the love they are receiving.
What is your favorite Instagram feed right now?
The Instagram account @afrosinsanjuan, it celebrates the beauty of Afro-Latinx/Afro-Caribbean people (mostly women). As an Afro-Latina, I constantly want to see myself and women like me celebrated and represented.
What is an article you read / podcast you listened to recently that felt like the writer/host was in your brain?
I love RuPaul so much. Since forever. On the podcast Rupaul: What's the Tee?, the iconic black supermodel Pat Cleveland was a recent guest. They swapped stories on how legendary New York used to be back in the '70s and '80s, eras of New York I'm deeply inspired by. I really respect how RuPaul has forged on no matter what, even during a career decline, to now having a hit show in its ninth season and being an Emmy winner. I just read that he's creating a series based on his life and career. He just turned his life into a brand, he turned his story into a career. That's really monumental.
Let's end on a non-work note! Favorite place you have ever been?
It's a tie between Japan and Cuba. I spent two magical weeks in Japan the summer of 2016, where I roamed the streets of Tokyo, but also spent time in the countryside and at former feudal sites. I was in Cuba recently for a few days and I'm still basking in the sunshine, the ocean, and the stately architecture ( outside of Old Havana). Cubans are just so warm, everyone spoke to me in Spanish, I felt incredibly connected.
Lead photo by Jen Rudy