Welcome to her world…artist, designer, surfer, teacher, wife & mom-to-be. She lives in a charming cottage blocks from the Cardiff Sea, with her husband Mark. They work and play together. Julie’s art is not typical surf art- it’s intelligent, organic layered work that tells her stories of life and travels against the ocean, any ocean.
Color, texture and images combine to make playful yet complex art. Simple at first glance, then you start to question why and how a mom in a bikini with 3 kids ended up on the back of a motorcycle! I met up with Julie a few days ago, and we talked about her work, new projects, including a big one expected to arrive shortly.
AQC– You live in Cardiff, a sleepy beach community north of San Diego. Before that, Long Beach Island. Why is it important to you to live near the water – well, ocean actually?
JG– I grew up near the ocean. My parents raised us to love the beach and the culture that revolves around surf and the ocean. Since I was a little kid I remember playing in the salt water and romping in the sand. My greatest memories with family and friends are my experiences at the beach. It’s such a healthy environment and has brought me much joy over the years. My husband Mark and I met on Long Beach Island, a barrier island in southern New Jersey. We shared the same love for this world, surfing with our friends and family who also appreciate this type of lifestyle. We knew that we would always live near the ocean.
That said, I do love urban environments. Living and going to school in NYC has influenced who I am as an artist and designer, but there’s still nothing like living at the beach. Southern California’s culture thrives all year long. It’s a mellow environment, an easy place to live. I do miss the east coast though, my family, friends, overall attitude and edge!!!
AQC– How do you find the differences to be between the ocean cultures on the 2 coasts?
JG– The overall experience is similar. The feeling of swimming, surfing and being at the beach and surrounded by others who also have the same passion for the ocean is the same. The difference is that the east coast is seasonal, the winters are cold, the summers hot, the spring rainy and the fall… perfect! Where we grew up on LBI, the extreme living conditions were challenging for me. The winters were very desolate, quiet and most of the stores, restaurants and social environments closed. It’s a seasonal place. Sometimes I miss the solitude, but as a creative person, I like stimulation and options.
AQC– Your art reflects a lot feminine imagery of women & water along with some macho images like knives & motorcycles – how do you explain your yin & yang?
JG– My work is influenced by gender and identity and the roles we play in relationships, friendships, love and envy. I am a tomboy with feminine aesthetic. My woodcuts and drawings are representations from my personal experiences, things that I have observed through my travels and stories that have been passed down. Strong, independent women that find humor and balance in their lives and stories continuously inspire me.
AQC– There is an organic nature to your work, not only the imagery but also the medium- wood block prints, some directly onto wood panels- all of it incorporating the grain and knots of the wood surfaces… how did you discover this to be your medium of choice?
JG– It was in college when woodcut printmaking was introduced to me. I remember clearly seeing images in the wood, carving them and printing. I loved the process, mystic and overall rawness that the wood held on its own. After playing with all different kinds of wood, pine was my favorite. I love the knots and the soft grain. I often allow the knots to become a part of the image, it is impossible to carve through and even around a knot, so I enjoy letting the wood speak for itself.
AQC–How is living next to the Pacific Ocean vital to your art?
JG– The ocean is my therapy. I get most of my ideas, colors and images from being in the water. After moving to So Cal 4 years ago, I realized how much the colors in this environment have enhanced my work. The works that I created in NYC and NJ were mostly black and white and neutral tones. Since living in Cardiff, I find my palette to be much more saturated, alive and full of color blends that often reflect the natural environment year round.
AQC–What inspires you to get up and pull out the jigsaw?
JG– Working on a large scale is my inspiration to use my jigsaw. I LOVE seeing my images of women, portraits, swimmers and surfers life size and often larger than life. I draw them first in my sketchbook and then transfer the concepts onto the wood. Next I stain the wood and figure out the spaces that will be carved verse the spaces that will remain positive and later printed. At that point…I get out the jigsaw. I use it to carve away the negative spaces around the image to help with a cleaner print. Using power tools enhances my work and helps me to accomplish a lot in little time, that way I can focus on the intricate details in the piece with my carving tools. I try to create a balance between space and texture in this part of the process.
After I jigsaw, I use small Japanese woodcarving tools to get the fine lines and details within the image. I sand down all the grain to enhance the textures of the wood. Finally I print!!
AQC–What are you working on these days?
JG– Right now, I’m working on a new product line! I‘ve been working on this concept for a few years, and since I got pregnant, have been unable to use my inks and printmaking materials. So I decided now is the time to work in a new medium and focus on my art translating into fashion. Currently I’m coordinating my concepts from my studio into silhouettes and accessories. I’m so excited as it unfolds to see my concepts come to life in a new way! The product the story of the brand is closely linked to my studio work and I’m working on a new body of woodcuts as well.
AQC–What is your soundtrack to work by?
JG– Believe it or not, I rarely listen to music when I work. I’m often in my own head and have always been like this when I create. If I’m in process mode: carving and printing (less conceptual work) I often listen to anything from Grimes and MIA, to Otis Redding to Billie Holiday.
AQC–If you could wear one thing to work from the latest Fall ‘13 runway what would it be?
JG– Anything from Anna Sui’s fall line!!!! I love the colors, textures and short dresses, I have to have one!!
AQC–What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
JG–First, I would fulfill the use of my Masters degree Art Education. I teach part-time and will always be an advocate for Art Education. So, if I did not pursue my career as an artist, I would teach art in public school OR be a director of education in a progressive school or Charter that supports the arts.
Second, I always wanted to be a Psychologist. I love the study of humans and behavior…maybe I can still be come one!
AQC– Corona or Pinot Grigio
JG – Pinot Grigio
AQC– Boot: Biker or Cowboy?
JG – Cowboy!
AQC– Sunrise or sunset?
JG – Sunset
AQC– Tacos or Tofu?
JG – Tofu
AQC– Surf or sail?
JG – Surf!!!
To find out more about Julie and her work, visit her site at Julie Goldstein.
Good Luck Julie with your new baby boy!! Due September 14th.