Artists @ Home: How freelance artist Yasmine Sayre uses quarantine to improve her craft


Makayla Roumph

UNO student and freelance artist Yasmine Sayre redesigns an album cover during quarantine titled “Darklands” for the band “Jesus and the Mary Chain.” Photo courtesy of Yasmine Sayre.

Like many others, the music industry is suffering from the pandemic, with cancelled shows and merchandise collecting dust. So are the artists, who bring the music industry to life through visual representation.

Local freelance artist Yasmine Sayre is amongst the artists experiencing a large decline in commissions with the lack of concerts, tours and festivals due to cancellations and postponements.

“I can’t wait for the day it’s safe to go back to shows,” Sayre says. “Making art for bands didn’t even feel like a job, it was so fun getting to know the band and designing art for them, but I haven’t had that in a while. Even the album releases have been postponed so I have a few album covers in computer files waiting to be seen.”

Sayre is a junior at UNO, studying studio art and graphic design. With her expected graduation in spring of 2022, she continues to use this time to practice, connect and dream for the future she is in the midst of designing for herself.

“I would love to work for an independent record label or venue,” Sayre says. “Anything with music I’ll be down. Either that or start my own venue/record store, but I feel like design will be with me and benefit no matter what I do in the future. It has given me many opportunities and great contacts, so when I graduate, I’ll have more than design jobs to pick from.”

Through connections, Sayre has garnered opportunities to freelance for both national and local bands, including Hala, Lunar Vacation, White Reaper, Diners, Gymshorts, Garst, Death Cow, Magu, Histrionic, Ojai and more.

Sayre says her biggest advice to artists working on improving their craft is to network and practice. She says it may sound “boring,” but in theory, it is the willingness to break away from a certain style by practicing different styles that can lead to improvement.

“Not only should you practice technical skills, but you should practice different styles,” Sayre says. “Going out and finding art books is a good way to learn some new skills and find inspiration. I personally search for books about the history of music, screen printing, album art, show posters, etc. Also just following fellow artists on social media is more than enough content and allows a space to network with them if you’re doing similar things.”

Along with practicing different styles, Sayre advises artists and designers to challenge the definition of design.

“I would just specify that design can be as ugly as you want,” she says. “I think designers have been stuck in this mindset that design has to be clean, proper and pretty, especially when it comes to graphic design. But designs that really stick out to me are the ones that have personality.”

She jokingly says her professors will probably snap at her for defining it this way. However, Sayre’s authentic understanding of design shines through her own art, having a “contemporary grunge cartoon” style.

“My ‘style’ does peak through,” Sayre says. “I use my photography, or old magazines with some pieces to give it texture. I also have staple pieces like a droopy clown face or smiley face. I find my inspiration from old show posters from 1970s-1990s and modern psychedelic cartoons.”

From painting, photography and drawing in her earlier years of design to the adaptation to a digital world, Sayre continues to evolve and take design to the next level.

To follow along on Sayre’s journey, visit her Instagram handles: // @omahad.zine.