Júlia Both: a jewel in the urban landscape
Júlia Both, although she has contributed to many collaborations, doesn’t consider herself a street artist, but as an artist/illustrator who occasionally works in public.
This vivacious and talented young woman of Brazilian decent, has lived in Australia for seven years.
She studied visual communication and design in Brisbane but love and the compatibility of their ideals brought Júlia and her partner to Melbourne.
They both wanted to be artists that created works about nature, so they made the move to start a new life and follow their dreams together.
“Although we wanted to be artists, we went into design as we felt that something practical, more commercial, would be sensible,” Júlia said. “This has worked out well for us as a lot of the skills acquired have been useful in our projects. It also stimulated me to think about the images we were creating and the effect/impact they had on society – to create something more meaningful.”
Even though her preference is for small works and, although their scale can be daunting, Júlia also enjoys the larger collaborative walls.
“I do the designing and it’s this part of a collaboration that I’m most passionate about. I do a lot of research and take into account the location, the theme and how people are going to interact with it,” she said. “How will it be viewed both close-up and from afar? I sketch out the elements and then choose the palette to keep it cohesive. It’s great to see a wall come into fruition.”
“Although I can paint with a can, my preference is to use brushes. I really like using a brush and it’s more affordable! A few litres of paint can go a long way!”
Júlia and her partner Chuck Mayfield have been a very successful team. Their different styles work well together. Their strengths balance each other out. His is an urban graffiti one, whilst Júlia has a delicate and illustrative style with a strong jewel-like sense of colour.
They enjoy the flow and overlapping of styles – the softness of the brush blending with the crispness of aerosol-creates a lot of depth.
Júlia aspires to travel the world to make connections with people who run projects that benefit communities. Improving the world through art?
“This is the direction I would like to take as I’m very interested in the mural art of Latin America. It’s not just pretty pictures but has a message. When I go back to Brazil I find the work being done on the streets really inspirational. It has something to say. Although there’s a bit of that here, it’s mostly just decorative,” she said.
“So when I return home I realise that this is the direction in which I want to take my art – making art in public places that focuses on local, important issues.”
“It’s still early for my practice and I’m still working things out. How can I my mark on the world? Art can be a divine vessel for the flow of creativity but other times you feel you’re being indulgent.”
“Just painting pictures, not bettering humanity in anyway? Too complacent with what you are doing? Are we really adding anything to the world or just painting walls for the money? I’m constantly questioning myself.”
“That said, if art is too confrontational, too political, it can force people to switch off. I’m interested in making it seem otherwise: work that makes you question and creates a dialogue.”
“I’m also frustrated with the way women are portrayed. Art on the streets is meant to be a rebellious form of art but a lot of it’s just repetitive. The same imagery that idealises women very much the way advertising does. Women are objectified. There’s not enough critical conversation about this!”
Júlia’s show at Off The Kerb Gallery, Garden of Delight, was an exhibition of delicate, sensitive watercolours: very personal and very sexual.
“Painting is my way of saying what I find difficult to articulate. It’s a way of expressing my feelings,” she said.
“Garden of Delight dealt with my sexuality and being comfortable with my body. It was a new direction, embracing opposites – masculine and feminine. The outer and inner worlds.”
And as for her future, Júlia sees it being one of study and extensive travel, taking her talents to an international stage.
More of Júlia’s work can be seen in Flinders Court. She was amongst the few female artists invited to participate in the Meeting of Styles event in 2015.