Tell us about your art, where do you get your inspiration from?
My art is heavily influenced by the whimsy of childrens illustration, but plays with the darkness and humor of contemporary daily adult life. Lately I’ve been inspired by a lot of surreal, abstracted comic art and wonky ceramic shapes and characters.
What is your creative process like?
Most of my final work starts from a loose sketch..a sort of half baked visual idea that I scribbled down, that I later try to elaborate on. Images usually work best for me when Im not planning or analyzing what Im doing. A loose playfulness that I try to recreate, without losing whatever made it work in the first place. Sometimes it falls flat on the second try and just has to remain a sketch. Other times I can improve on it, or give the sketch a more elaborated world to live in. The physical process is very different depending on which medium I use. Right now its mostly watercolour or ceramics, though in the past I was doing a lot of my artwork digitally, with a mixture of photoshop and illustrator.
How do you differentiate your art from others? What’ makes your pieces unique?
So much of what everyone makes is a product of what is exciting and “trendy” in contemporary art. I’m definitely not exempt from this and so stylistically I might use patterns, color schemes and linework that echos that of the contemporaries, but I’d like to think that our particular patterns of working and our unique combination of my influences, helps to differentiate all of us as artists, even if it’s in the smallest ways.
What is it about your chosen medium that calls to you?
Right now, its definitely ceramics. It’s very exciting for me to be able to make tangible, physical illustrations. Its also very process heavy..so many stages that force you to make decisions that will help support the next stage, so it brings a focus to my art making. Right now the challenge is to keep the work loose while still working on it through so many stages. I can sometimes over work my illustrations, so its a similar challenge in ceramics.
What artists do you admire?
Emily Carr for her give zero fucks attitude towards the art world, maurice sendak for his respect for children, Picasso for his confidence, Matisse for his visual optimism and simplicity, Gillian Tamaki for being a badass visual storyteller. Karin Hagen’s weirdo ceramic characters, Shary Boyle for being a great Toronto Lady art maker who’s vision lives well in every medium
What does a typical day in your studio look like?
Nothing is typical, but I guess more often than not, I get to the studio later than I mean to..usually around 10 am. Fuss around on the internet, looking at art and facebook, putting off work for another hour. Start to get down to business around eleven. Work for a 2-3 hours, painting or doing digital illustrations for a kids book Im working on. Try to remember to eat around 3pm. Graveyard of coffee and yogurt cups piling up on my desk. If I’m good and I start the day early I’m usually able to leave around 4 and get a couple hours in at a shared ceramics studio,which is a few blocks from my house. If not, I’ll stay at the studio till around 7 and I’ll start the next day at the ceramics studio and get to my personal studio for the second half of the day. I’m very lucky to be able to mix and match my schedule. When I near deadlines for a project, it’s a whole different story. Everything falls off and I’ll pull 12-13 hour days until everything is caught up. Ups and downs to being your own boss.
Why do you ride bicycles?
It’s cheap and quick! I don’t have a car (or license for that matter) so it’s the best way for me to get around Toronto quickly, plus it gives me a few extra needed endorphins. Most of my friends bike too, so it’s nice to, you know, communally get around together, point things out, stop at little places along the way. You get to interact with the city more, I guess.
What fun places have you traveled with your bike (local/international)..Where are your favorite places to go by bicycle?
Going to Toronto Island with a bike is nice. you can get to all the good spots in an afternoon. There are some nice dirt paths in High park too.
What is your favourite piece you have created and why? I made a small watercolor sketch of a girl riding a wolf as gift for my grandfather this christmas. He had just turned 97 so I tried to show him a bit of my spirit and my love for him in the illustration. I’m not sure I totally did it, but it felt like a good try.
When did you start developing a passion for art?
I’ve been drawing since I was very little, so I guess from the beginning!
Oi! by Juliana Neufeld
What is your favourite art supply?
Black pen and paper
Do you have any advice to give to people who are interested in what you do?
Keep challenging and expanding your idea of what is good and interesting in art. Make art for yourself, not for what you think people want to see.
What is in Juliana’s future?
I see an old lady doing exactly what she’s doing now, but with less self consciousness and probably more plants.