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Artist Julia Soderholm

Julia Soderholm is an artist & art educator based on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples, also known as Vancouver, British Columbia.

"Julia Soderholm’s curiosity and attentiveness to her natural environment are apparent in her paintings, where each brushstroke starts as an observation. Through the act of letting go of representation, Julia works to express her experience and memories of space and place with gestural mark-making. In this retelling of landscape, colors become saturated, forms blur with movement, and shapes distort"

Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from) and your background in the arts.

I’m a visual artist and art educator living in Vancouver, British Columbia. I majored in art in university, and have been developing my painting practice ever since. I grew up with a strong inclination for anything creative and knew that art was something I wanted to pursue from a young age.

I remember learning how to use oil paints for the first time when I was 14, at an after-school class I attended. Since that moment, I was hooked, and I’ve continued to explore and develop my skills within that medium ever since. Alongside my own painting practice, I am an art educator, teaching Visual Art at a school here in Vancouver. I love teaching - I find it to be a supportive and generative career alongside my own creative work.

What kind of work are you currently making?

I’m currently making abstract oil paintings with a focus on color and the built surface. My work is gestural and textural, and I’ve been exploring new ways to create surfaces using sand, collaged canvas, and many layers of paint. My work often refers to organic shapes inspired by leaves, stems, and flora, but this series also has a geometric lens.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

I work as both a painter and a teacher, so I typically get to the studio about three or four times a week. Because my studio time can be somewhat limited, I like to start each studio visit with a few minutes of journaling to make a plan for my time that day. This is a habit I started since listening to “I Like Your Work,” where I learned about your studio planner. It’s really helped me focus my time when I’m there. Typically I have three to four paintings on the go at once, which allows me to work in slow layers that build over the course of weeks. My general habit is to photograph paintings at each stage so that I can play around with ideas through digital drawings before committing to them on the canvas.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

Some painters whose work I have been really enjoying lately are Bradley Kerl, Matt Kleberg, and Pam Evelyn. There are so many incredible painters working today, there is an endless source of excellent work to engage with. Some other painters I have been influenced by over the years are Lois Dodd, Pierre Bonnard, and Lee Krasner. I recently read “Ninth Street Women,” and it was such a joy to get a window into the world of those legendary artists. I’m also currently reading “Daybook: The Journal of an Artist” by Anne Truitt. I wasn’t very familiar with her work before reading it, but she has a beautiful way of writing about her creative process that I’m enjoying a lot.

Where can we find more of your work?

Right now, you can see more of my work on my website and my Instagram

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