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yay retro! talk to Artist Julia Crossland
Sometimes I come across artists when wandering online, whose work leaps out of the screen with it's wonderful, upbeat cheerfulness! That of Julia Crossland is just such an example, and she has kindly given yay retro! an in-depth look into her work and inspiration.
Julia who lives North of Sheffield, trained in Interior Design at the University of Plymouth. Before becoming a full time artist, she worked as a wages clerk and a professional sign writer working for among others B&Q! Finally after many years of yearning to be a professional painter, she gave it a shot and hasn't looked back. She tells us that inspiration for her beautifully detailed, bright paintings comes from: "...the coast and the countryside which is an endless supply of ideas for me. I also love retro and vintage items that are making more of an appearance in my work of late. I am happiest when I am painting from my imagination, creating little scenes of nostalgia that are bursting with colour".
We absolutely love her still life paintings, featuring vintage and retro tableware and china. Often we can spot inspiration from contemporary designers like Orla Kiely and Ken Eardley such as in the works below...
Julia says that although she has a few bits and bobs of vintage china that she has picked up along the way, she doesn't usually set up a still life to paint from as such. Instead she tends to use her sketch book and then creates a montage based drawings in this. Sometimes she might also use images from magazines or books that she feels will work particularly well.
Working mainly in acrylics, Julia paints with a wide range of bright colours, she loves the way that acrylic paint dries quickly and allows for multiple layers of paint to be built up quickly. She works on wooden blocks, canvas and paper in all sizes. The smallest paintings she creates are just 10cm x 10cm, whilst the larger ones can be half a metre square. Julia sells her work in the form of originals, giclee prints and as fine art cards.
Artists that interest Julia include Alfred Wallis, Mary Fedden and LS Lowry, "all very different but each of them very inspiring."
Julia's website is chock full of beautiful artworks, and you can currently view her work in person at The Whalley Gallery, Holywood, Northern Ireland where she is featured in their Summer Exhibition (July 2015). She also has work at the Janet Bell Gallery in Anglesey, North Wales, and is also making new work for the Caroline Temple Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland. For those who want to be able to buy her work online it is readily accessible via her website and Facebook page, the Whistlefish Galleries, both online and in their shops throughout the south west of England. Or try Coastal Home, Phoenix Trading or the Waterscapes Gallery.
Julia's top painting tip is to be true to yourself and not to try and be somebody else. She says: "take the time to discover your own unique style, paint things that make you happy. Make it fun, don't be afraid to experiment with different techniques." When is comes to marketing her work, Julia says that having a presence on social media is a huge benefit to any artist as it's a great way to get your work seen by different audiences. She finds that using Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter all contribute to getting her work 'out there'. She goes on to say: "Find the social media channels that work best for you and make a point of regularly letting people know what you are doing. You can use plain text, photographs or video (which is something I am just starting to use - it's great fun!) Get to know other people through these channels, don't be afraid to comment and connect and use social media to network and share. It's a great way to meet like minded people, build online friendships and get news of what you're up to shared by others and seen by a wider range of people."
So, we wondered, does Julia have vintage and retro wares in her own home? She tells us that it's a rather eclectic mixture! She has vintage floral china mixed up with mid century coffee pots, stone cream jars and old tins. She's hard pressed to say which her exact favourite piece is, but there is a little red enamel stove top coffee pot that she really loves!
And...what of the future? Julia is excited about getting a new studio to work from in the form of a posh garden shed...having spent the last eight years working at her dining table, a brand new creative space which gives her the scope to really develop her art, and maybe create some brand new mixed media pieces is understandably an exciting prospect! Interestingly, she has also started to write a book, which is coming together slowly and a great project to have "chugging alongside her other work' she says.