This month our artist feature is Julie Walker, a collage wizard whose work I am so inspired by! In this interview, Julie talks about the importance of play, not taking yourself too seriously, and giving yourself space to create. Her insights remind me to really enjoy the journey and not get too caught up in the stress and pressures of life. If you haven’t checked of Julie’s work, pop on over to her Instagram for a real treat! She also illustrated our book club art this month that’s available for a free download–You won’t want to miss it!
Now let’s dive into the interview!
Artist Feature: Julie Walker
1. How did you get your start as a Collage artist? How did your artistic style develop?
I started getting into collage in college – what a tongue twister! I have always been a collector of things – especially old books with pictures that were interesting to me. Once I got into college I found a way to make those pictures a part of my voice and that felt really exciting. I feel like my style developed as I more fully explored what I could do with collage – along with paying attention to what I liked and didn’t like about the work I was making.
2. How does your upbringing influence your creations? Where do you turn for inspiration?
I grew up next to my grandparents and spent a lot of time with them. My Grandmother and my mom were very interested in old things – they loved old buildings, family antiques, old photos, ghost towns, etc. I basically learned to love everything old – the older and more full of stories the better! That love definitely lives on through my work. I like that my collages couldn’t exist without other stories happening first.
When I feel low on inspiration I often take time to thumb through my books – I always find something new that sparks an idea for me. I also have to admit I like to keep a messy desk – interactions happen between my paper cuttings when they all get shuffled around that I would have never deliberately made.
3. Aside from making collage pieces, what other mediums, hobbies, or activities do you enjoy?
I am hopelessly into gardening. My Gardening muse is Tasha Tudor – I love her gardening style and the way her flowers are such a big part of her life. She says “gardening has untold rewards” and I am just beginning to see the truth of that! If I ever need a break from my studio I go out and walk my garden – it’s not much yet but it brings me so much joy.
4. Where did you artistic journey begin and how have you ended up where you are today as a collage artist? How did you transition from video to collage?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to grow up and be an artist of some kind. I have had flings with lots of different mediums – but collage just rings the most true with me. Truth be told I was always a collage artist – I was just moonlighting as a filmmaker. Collage has always been my first love but when I married a filmmaker I grew to love that medium as well. It scares me to think of how I could probably love every facet of art – there just isn’t enough time!
5. How much value do you place on attending art or design school?
Its funny because I value my college years SO much – I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design. That being said I don’t know if it was so much that the value was on my degree, or that it was just a time in my life where I allowed myself to discover myself artistically. I think giving yourself space and a place to create is what really matters. That and a hearty dose of art history!
6. Have you had any major setbacks on the road to where you are now and how did you overcome them?
I have had so many setbacks along the way – I can’t even count them all! Though I have never really thought of them as setbacks – maybe just a refining of what it is that I am doing creatively. I think my focus has always been set on doing things that are fulfilling to me and that keeps me from feeling the weight of things not going as planned. That being said if it is really a big blow I soothe myself with a ‘90’s movie and some cheese toast.
7. When you’re in a creative funk, what helps you overcome the roadblocks?
I allow myself to “play” artistically. If I can push away pressures of deadlines and expectations placed on me I can usually find my way around the roadblock. I have to remind myself how lucky I am that I get to do art for a living and that at the end of the day I can’t take myself too seriously!
8. Social media gives people a much larger platform to display their work. What are the pros and cons of being so visible?
I know for me personally, I love the connections that are made. Making art can sometimes be a lonely business and I really value those people who keep me company via social media! I do have to remind myself to take care of my art first though and make sure that what I am making speaks to me instead of just making to what I think people want to see. That kind of art always feels so insincere and I think in the end doesn’t benefit anyone – the maker or the viewer.
9. How do you balance work life with family life?
I don’t. I really don’t have a good handle on this and I hope by confessing it I can own this truth and finally work towards a solution! That being said I never get too far out of whack because when things start to feel a little sparse on either end I put the breaks on and assess what needs to be fixed. Sometimes that means we take a quick weekend trip to get back into family mode or other times I shut my door when working in the office and let myself really get lost in my work.