I recently paired up with artist Julia Giordano to bring you a collection of bird themed pouches. Here's a glimpse into a conversation we had about her art.
Jen: What is your earliest artistic/creative memory?
Julia: I am lucky to have grown up in a creative household where there was always a lot of making going on in one way or another, so it’s hard for me to pick out a specific earliest memory. My mom went back to college to finish her undergraduate degree in Fine Art when my sister and I were in elementary school and I have a lot of fond memories of her working on her assignments. I can clearly recall her lying on the floor with a piece of wet leather over half of her face, drying it into face shape with a hair dryer. Now that I have my own kids, I delight in sharing my own “weird” explorations and creative projects with them. A specific creative endeavor that I especially loved as a child was to make miniature worlds or dioramas with lots of little details. Now that I think of it, small details still play a large role in the work I do today!
Why do you create?
As mentioned above, I have always been surrounded by artistic creation, so in some ways, it seems to me to be a natural and essential part of life. Whether it is sewing a Halloween costume, knitting a sweater, making a birthday card, or decorating for a party, it is always the most fun and satisfying for me to make it myself. After my children were born, I did have a point when I realized that I was not doing much for myself creatively and that I missed it and felt an emptiness and sadness as a result. Around that time, I re-discovered my love of collage and began to develop the technique and style that I work in now. So, I guess that to put it most simply, I create to feel alive, to feel joy, and to find satisfaction.
Describe your process for creating the artwork for the pouches. What mediums do you use?
I begin most new collages with a few loose sketches in pencil to get an overall sense of the massing and layout of the design. I then paint colors and textures onto large sheets of newsprint paper using gouache or acrylic paints. Once I am satisfied with the colors and the sheets have dried, I grab my scissors and start to cut. I also use found papers, such as security envelope linings, tissue paper, and other odds and ends. After much snipping and arranging, I settle on a final composition and begin the gluing down process. After gluing, in some cases, I go back and add highlights or details with colored pencils.
Up to this point, I have then created giclee prints and greeting cards from my artwork, in addition to selling original collages. Working with FOXLY has been my first foray into other products and I am thrilled to see my artwork in a new form and to see how it translates to fabric.
What has been your most rewarding artistic creation so far?
I cannot think of a specific creation, but I think that in a larger sense, getting my artwork out of my head and personal sketchbook and into the world has been my most rewarding creative effort. It is always a little intimidating to share your artwork outside of your intimate circle of friends and family, but it is also hugely rewarding and leads to so many new opportunities and relationships. I began selling my artwork through Etsy and in person at a number of different markets and art fairs about two years ago and am proud of the progress I’ve made and the confidence that I’ve developed in that time.
I also really enjoy making commissioned artworks. It is so fun and satisfying to work with someone who has a specific subject in mind and to create it for them in my own style. This is especially rewarding when it is a gift and I can play a part in making a unique and memorable surprise for someone special.
What projects do you hope to pursue next?
I would love to continue exploring surface design and see my artwork on other products, such as notebooks, tote bags, or enamel mugs. I also have a couple of children’s book ideas that have been swirling around in my head for a while now that I would like to work on developing further.
What inspires your work?
While I did not go to art school, I have studied art history, photography, botany, ornithology, and landscape architecture. These experiences all inform my collage work, from the selection of subject matter to composition and editing choices. I am also inspired by children’s illustration, scientific and educational illustration, and the endless wonders of the natural world.