Artist Q&A with Julie Griffith

Studio Art major Julie Griffith paints

Julie Griffith is a nontraditional student and senior Studio Art major, with a concentration in Painting. She sat down recently to discuss her passion for art. 

Q. How long have you been doing art, and what mediums do you gravitate towards? 

A. I’ve been making art since high school, but I never really started painting until 18 years ago, when I was 22. I tend to draw more and enjoy the initial pencil sketch. I used to draw a lot and use markers when I was younger, and never painted, so when I started painting, that was a new ball game. Now that I’m a painting major, I find that I want to draw more. 

Q. Describe your favorite piece you’ve done to date. Why is it your favorite? 

A. I made a 4-by-3-foot painting in Oliver Schemm’s Open Studio class based on reflection and refraction. It started with this trippy sketch; I was trying to make this mermaid character shaking her head, coming out of the water and drying off. I used paint to capture the blurriness of her in motion, but also her torso is reflected in the water, and droplets of water are reflecting the light. It was really fun to make and aesthetically pleasing to me. 

Q. What piece has taken you the most time? What made it so intricate? 

A. I did a large mural of the periodic table of elements. It was 6-by-9-feet, took me six months and I donated it to the science wing of CCV [in Rutland]. It’s a readable table, but it has a stylized, crazy, colorful background. 

Julie Griffith poses next to “Surfer No. 6”

Q. Do you have any subjects that inspire you?

A. I’m inspired by anything dynamic. When I make paintings from my head, or even when it’s a representational drawing, it’s usually a portrait of someone doing an action. There’s always movement, color, intensity and tension. Anything that’s dynamic that way. 

Q. What artist or artists inspire you?

A. Leon Bates inspires me. Leon makes art all the time. They’re a very hardworking artist, in many different forms. Music is also a huge piece of art for me. Right now, I’m in a drum and bass, electronic music phase. 

Q. What are you currently working on?

A. I’m taking Painting III, so I’m constantly painting. I just learned how to oil paint, which is fun but also foreign and awesome. I’m also taking Pro Studio, and we’re doing geology prompts. I have a painting on metamorphosis, convection, and mass wasting in my car right now. I’ve never made this much art in such a short amount of time. 

Q. What’s your favorite step in the artistic process?

A. My favorite thing is watching people’s reactions. I’m big on the reveal. I get really excited on presentation day when it’s time to critique. 

Q. What has been the key to your artistic development? 

A. Sobriety. That’s a critical piece. People say you need drugs or alcohol to be creative, and that’s bullshit. I’m back to my 

Finished work depicted

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