Who could forget the adorable Julie White, an illustrator, textile designer and all round legend who also happened to be our Spring Summer poster artist in 2016! Julie was so busy creating and showcasing her fabulous new collection last year that we’ve only just found the time to catch up and learn a little more about her artistic process. Read on to discover the joys of Julie White…
How would you describe your artistic practice?
I make Art Fashion accessories with my main obsession in mind – the prints! The range is an ongoing story of print collections, specialising in silk scarves and hosiery. I draw inspiration from personal experience, memories, imagination and my love of contemporary Australiana. I often keep my sketchbook handy wherever I go incase something sparks. Sometimes I might pursue a print idea that sparked that day, months or even years ago. Sometimes it’s quite a linear process but more often not. Besides the actual drawing, I spend a long time developing each print story from research to building up looks and technique. I love working with hand drawing methods as much as possible and using acrylic inks, gouache and marker pens most.
How do you feel your practice has evolved since you began your creative business?
The creative business I have now is very different since it began. I feel the journey started back in 2007 when I first put my work in boutiques during a rocky time in the industry. It’s nice to look back, and I do have those moments of ‘well….how did I get here!?’.
Aesthetically, it’s changed drastically, starting from one-off clothing pieces and I used to have a small line of screen printed illustrated leggings. While it’s changed creatively, the one thing that never has is my desire to make beautiful, original printed products people can wear. I love that my products can give people some kind of joy and find their way into their own individual style.
While it’s taken a lot of practice to figure out how to make a living from a creative business, as things get busier I have realised my full limits as one person. I used to be proud of doing everything myself and worked 7 days a week. But that’s just a silly recipe for being burnt out. I’m now learning how to delegate more and letting go. Scary at first, but the only way forward!
Have you always been on a creative path? How did you find yourself working as an artist and designer?
I was pretty lucky to have some creative parents who encouraged me. So it was pretty normal to think from the beginning that I’d end up with a creative career. I’ve been making things since I can remember but it was until my teens that I became really interested in fashion, art and independent style. I enrolled in fashion school after high school and decided from then and there that I wanted my own independent label.
But, it took a long time for my skills, industry experience, and not to mention developing the self confidence to catch up with my own ambition! I owe what I know now to study, travel and putting my work into shops as soon as I could. I’ve also been really lucky to work as a creative assistant for some amazing individuals (namely, now good pals at Naomi Murrell) for several years in Adelaide. I never really had a ‘start up’ business – it’s just grown very organically.
What was your inspiration behind the beautiful artwork created for our SS16 poster?
It was really fun working with the Finders Keepers team! We started chatting ideas based on my ongoing colour palette and style. The brief being a Spring Summer vibe featuring Aussie flora and fauna, I was in my element! It was actually a really fun print to draw, building up all the motifs into the final artwork in a painterly, abstract style. It was pretty amazing seeing it blown up at The Finders Keepers Market and it’s definitely one of my favourite collabs so far!
Describe your favourite creative project to date.
Tough one! But I felt pretty chuffed to be an artist featured in The National Gallery of Australia’s ‘Street Wise’ exhibition celebrating contemporary Australian print culture (2015). A huge wall was covered in my ‘Red Waratah degrade’ print. It looked incredible as wallpaper, especially as the print was inspired by an Australian take on William Morris.
What advice would you give aspiring artists who are looking for a career in the arts?
Originality, authenticity and persistence. Finding your own creative voice and honing your style takes a lot of persistence but authenticity is so valuable. Find a story that no one else can tell.