The J Miners
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The J Miners

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"Artist's headache gives you work"

Have you ever had a headache so excruciating and incapacitating that, after all your worries had been drowned out and loved ones chased away because they can't stand to see you writhing in pain, all that remains is the question of your existence?

Adorned in archetypes and set in a cerebral landscape, the visions of Wilmington artist Jamin Belmont - on display through July at the Era Gallery in an exhibition of paintings titled Migraine Revelations - depict an alternative realm that the viewer can observe from the perspective of outsider.

"One day I'll just start with a random image that inspires me," Belmont said. "And I will ruminate for weeks on an unfinished canvas while the world starts catching up with me again - work, relationships, band practice, shows. The stress builds, triggering a migraine. When this happens, all my worries and the people I care about are eventually blocked out by the pain, and painting the image I am left with is the only way I can really begin to decompress."

Despite the title Migraine Revelations, Belmont, who also plays with Wilmington indie rock band Doly Toro, is quick to say he doesn't consider himself a prophet. He doesn't claim to serve as conduit to any divine spirit or otherworldly phenomena. Raised under the tenets of strict religious dogma, only to find himself disillusioned after a series of events that would later convince him to give up his "religion based on fear" for a different path, his revelations evoke the challenge of a dueling glove's backhanded slap, a challenge to what he sees as the holy myths that have burrowed into the collective psyche.

In response to his painting titled As Long as You Watch the Horse it Won't Disappear, Belmont explains it as a life lesson in which "as soon as you stop paying attention and lose focus, whatever it is - car, relationship, house, job - it will eventually disappear."

When addressing his work Half-Sister I Never Met, Belmont says, "She seems happy being alone, in her own mind with her eyes closed, peaceful, innocent, relaxed. Yet does she exist in this world? One never knows."

Do Belmont's paintings successfully tear down the doors of pretense and desire, intellectual cynicism and wrought-iron ignorance, to allow insight a few minutes outside its cage? As always, the answer depends on your interpretation of his work. - Star News

"Local artist sells pieces to send his band on tour"

Over the past few years, Wilmington artist Jamin Belmont has cranked out of dozens of quality songs for atmospheric indie rock outfit Doly Toro as well as for his country group, The J Miners. His visual art is similarly diverse, ranging from traditional paintings and wall sculptures to intricately constructed art boxes he displayed in exhibits at Caffé Phoenix and the defunct Era gallery.

Belmont’s music and his visual art have always been linked, at least in his head. But now there’s a physical representation of that connection.

On Friday, Belmont will display his art in the space that housed the 008 boutique, with the work priced to sell. Most pieces are $150 or less, and Belmont said he’s going to use the proceeds to fund a so-called “Squeaky Wheel Tour” with the J Miners.

Until recently, Belmont has been satisfied, or at least resigned, to playing his music occasionally around town to mostly small crowds

Then the car-painting business he runs with his brother began feeling the effects of the recession. “It went from $5,000 a month for five, six years to $2,500 a month to $250 a month,” Belmont said. “But I’m kind of glad. Now, I’m just going to put it all into music.”

Determined to get his songs heard, Belmont and his brother/bass player, Justin Tinkler, took off to Nashville for two weeks. They played wherever they could, including on a street corner, where they were discovered by a Fox News crew doing a story on homelessness. (There’s a link to a music video the intrigued cameraman created above.)

“It was really good for us emotionally,” said Belmont, who was heartened by meeting people who seemed to really care about his songs. Many of the tunes have a romantic, melancholy feel. Some are tinged with humor. Others feature intricate word play. (“What’s said is said/ What’s said is sad,” he sings on “You’re Gonna Lose.”) More often than not, they’re heart-breakingly lovely.

Belmont’s visual art can be similarly mysterious. There’s lots of bird imagery and more recently fish have been popping up. But he gladly explains a painting-like wall sculpture in which a sword-wielding bird is on a sailing vessel surrounded by sharks. “Those sharks are bill collectors,” Belmont said.

“But I’m like 50 Cent,” he adds, flashing a mischievous smile. “I’m gonna get rich or die tryin’.” - Star News


Still working on that hot first release.



Benjamin and Justin have been brothers their whole lives... Obviously. Their love for music stems from the legends who even today set themselves apart from the rest. Neil Young, Cat stevens , The Beatles, Bands and songwriters that know the Lyrics behind the songs are just as important as hooky melodies.