Thursday, 16 May 2013

VPHG: Artist Spotlight - Julie Proudfoot

Next up in our Artist Spotlight series is the very talented Julie Proudfoot. Julie's artwork 'Picking Jonquils' was the highlight of Anatomy's opening night - practically every attendee I spoke to loved the piece! We've worked Julie on a few exhibitions now and she is always such a pleasure to deal with; not just because her paintings tell such emotive stories but because she is just a lovely human in general!

Who are you? Tell us about your artistic journey...

A long time ago I was very bored during a Dental Nurse course in Melbourne and enrolled in an afterhours Fine Arts course. It filled a void in my life. It gave me the basics of drawing and painting. That was over twenty-five years ago. 
Since then, wherever I am, if the urge to ‘colour’ a situation strikes me, I put pastel to paper, or oil to canvas.
Julie Proudfoot's 'Picking Jonquils'
What inspires you?

When I think about art I think about colour and emotion. That’s what comes first and that’s what inspires me. 
Human emotion is intricate and complex, but at the same time universal. People recognise it when they see it. Life is full of events that pull us and throw us and needle us, and it’s the emotion we feel in amongst all that that I’m interested in. 
My interest in emotion possibly comes from my studies in psychology, or perhaps it’s the other way round: my interest in emotion lead me to a degree in psychology. Who knows? 
Then again, it may come from my un-conventional childhood: a strange primary school of ten children who ran around the bush climbing trees alongside lots of painting and pottery and textiles, and a home life confused by adults with un-medicated mental illness. 
Where ever it comes from, to expose and display an emotion is a challenge I always put to myself, and I hope it resonates with people who view my work. It’s a healthy thing to share emotion with people.

What are the main medium(s) you work in?

Oils and pastels. I love the way pastel blends, and its inherent softness. I often think I should give up the messy smelly oils, especially from an environmental point of view, but I love oils! Silky messy oils! I have a fondness for very large canvas, but it’s not practical most of the time.

How do you describe your work?

To give some context I would say I have expressionist intentions. But to put it simply, I attempt to display emotion by painting colour and figures.
Julie Proudfoot - Foetal
Tell us about the specific pieces you're exhibiting at VPHG...

The two paintings, ‘Picking Jonquils’ and ‘Foetal’, are a part of a series of ten or so paintings. The ten were painted in sequence within a period of a few months, and sometimes two at a time. 
They were painted at a difficult time in my life, and without intending to, and in hindsight, the series display an uncanny resemblance to my process through and out the other end of that time. 
They began with paintings that display frustration, pain and anger and move through to freedom, transparency, and happiness. 
‘Jonquils’ and ‘foetal’ are positive and transparent. Transparent both literally, and in the idea that there is nothing to hide from, or fear, or to be angry about. Jonquils are my favourite flower and were prolific where I grew up. So many that it was okay to roll down a very long hill over hundreds and hundreds of them squishing and ruining them. So it’s not surprising that Jonquils of all sizes and states feature in this. ‘Foetal’ is the feeling that it’s okay to live and stay and share in a moment of pain, and come through it.
Both 'Picking Jonquils' & 'Foetal' during the Anatomy show at VPHG
What are you working on currently?

I’m working on a series of oil paintings that accompany a psychological fiction novel I’m writing. Studying the characters visually helps me to tease apart and get to know them more deeply and emotionally.

You can read more about Julie's journey on her blog or over on twitter

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