A conversation with the current Tylee Cottage resident Julia Holden (Sept 2018 – January 2019)
Julia Holden. Picture by Martin Hunter
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN ARTIST?
I’m primarily a painter incorporating elements of performance, sculpture, photography and sometimes film. I also animate paintings, painting multiple individual portraits, photographing the painting and linking those images by using old school stop motion animation techniques.
WHAT IS YOUR PROPOSED UNDERTAKING WHILST AT TYLEE COTTAGE?
It‘s two fold. There will be a live performance painting which will reference works by and about women from the current 125: Celebrating Women from the Collection exhibition drawn from the Sarjeant’s permanent collection. Part two will be a continuation into my recent investigations of the still life genre, entirely experimental and referencing works by well-known still life painters. The residency has given me the luxury and pleasure of the gift of time that allows me to make these explorations.
WHAT MEDIUMS DO YOU WORK IN?
Multiple – clay, paint, photography, performance.
Christchurch since 2012
PLACE OF BIRTH?
I’m a gypsy
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES MAKING YOUR ART. FOR INSTANCE, HOW LONG DOES A WORK GENERALLY TAKE YOU? DO YOU DO RESEARCH? IS YOUR CREATION PROCESS VERY PHYSICAL, VERY CEREBRAL? IS THERE A LONG GESTATION PERIOD?
The portrait work for me is a true collaboration between myself and the person who is acting as my living canvas be that person an artist or a person in the community. There is a dialogue and an intimacy which comes about as a result of creating the work because it is based on the conversation and the trust that develops. It is a collaboration in a really true sense in that they are an active part of the portrait. The actual painting happens fairly quickly both because I don’t want my subject to be under the paint too long but also because I am looking to capture a very fresh, wet, immediate and visceral outcome.
IS THERE AN AUDIENCE YOU PARTICULARLY WANT TO REACH OR A MESSAGE THAT YOU HOPE TO COMMUNICATE?
I’m really interested in the conversation that happens between artists across time. Visual works are not absolutely anchored to time and place – in remaking them they both an homage and a kind of a compliment and something else happens too. Looking at works that have already been filtered through the mind of another artist is really interesting to me and it feels like I’m in a direct conversation with them as I make the work. It gives me the excuse to look deeply into a work that I might feel very drawn too and that the subject has a connection too also. I am in collaboration with my subject and I am also in collaboration with the artist that I am referencing.
ARE THERE THEMES THAT SEEM TO POP UP AGAIN AND AGAIN IN YOUR WORK? WHAT ARE THEY? DO YOU KNOW WHY THEY ARE THERE?
I am not a portraitist as such but portraiture is a really great way of talking about who we are right now and – I really like looking at and working with people.
WHAT OR WHO INFLUENCES YOU? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU FIND PARTICULARLY INSPIRING?
I am surrounded by totally amazing capable creative women of all ages who totally inspire me. I am particularly impressed by this next generation of younger women who are so much freer and so much more vocal than my generation. It is really exciting.
How to apply
Applications for our next season of residencies – September, 2018 – January, 2020 – are now closed.