Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Artist who Celebrates the Strength and Confidence of the Female Form

Interview with Figurative Painter Julia Trops
by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

Nude Figurative Art by Julia Trops
SchulmanArt: What gave you the courage to pursue a career as an artist full time?
Julia Trops:  I didn't see that there was any other choice. When I left the military, to join my family where my husband had been newly posted, I made the decision that if I was leaving a very well paying job then I was going to be doing something I loved and wanted. It was a force I felt within me and it was almost like I had a steel chain in the centre of my chest pulling me in that direction. My husband was supportive - though I am not sure he had much choice.

SchulmanArt: What motivates you to return to the female figure again and again?
Julia Trops: I've always drawn people and the feminine form even when I was young - elves, mermaids, fairies, which then, in puberty, progressed to drawings of ancient Greek statues and renaissance paintings. Currently I draw from life, and have for the past ten years after leaving university - mostly female nudes. The female figure has much to do with my own femininity, that I recognize now - acceptance and celebration of the same. A criticism of the feminists and a few self proclaimed contemporary artists say that I am victimizing the female by drawing her nude, but I disagree. For me, I am reveling in the strength and confidence of the female form, and have a recognition of her power in the human experience. I would suggest that it is only those who have bought into and are held by the patriarchal mores and values who see a nude female as a victim. My current work is borderline abstracted female form, and I am exploring the female as child, virgin, mother and crone.

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SchulmanArt: What has been your most exciting moment as an artist?
Julia Trops: Three times so far have been the most impactful. The first was being accepted in to the Rotary Centre for the Arts in 2002 (I left just at the end of 2011), the acceptance into the residency in Italy, and when I sold my first work. All three of those have a common theme, that of acceptance and belief in my abilities, and my future. It is something I am still learning to internalize and believe in myself. It's been a long road, but I'm getting stronger with each achievement.

SchulmanArt: How do you maintain a work discipline?
Julia Trops: When I was at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, I went each day to the studio, just like a regular job. A typical day would include internet time was at home from about 630 to 830, studio 9-2 or 3, home for supper and then a bit more internet time til around 8 or so. Now I am getting adjusted to having the studio in the home, and working on a specific project. I recognize that the internet needs to be really structured because it is easy to get sucked in to a vortex where it is concerned. I have it in a separate room now, not in the main family area. I have to physically walk there to go online.

Julia Trops at work in her studio
I try to go to my studio each day, or I do my reading, some kind, writing in the blog, or journal. It is still structured, but less formally. I am enjoying the freedom. Rituals in the studio include "nesting" before a big project starts - often I won't know a project is coming until this happens, and when I realize it, it is quite exciting! Before beginning to paint or draw, I line up my colours and my brushes, (or drawing tools) inspect them all, make sure the bristols are soft and pliable. Much time, I do not listen to any music. I enjoy the silence.


SchulmanArt:  How do you stay creative?
JT: I refuel the creative well by taking a break. That's hard to do, and it's been hard to allow myself to do it sometimes. I'll read. I'll meditate. Take a complete mental break. I'll not go in the studio for a month to a few months. I've learned not to force the flow of creativity and to honour these breaks. During those times, I'll focus on online work. Or other projects that I have on the go.

Female Nude by Julia Trops
SchulmanArt: What are some of projects do you have going on now? 
JT: I manage my website, along with Livessence, a life drawing group, and the Okanagan Erotic Art Show as well as the facebook pages. I'm getting ready to go through portfolios for the Ex Nihilo Vineyards new art gallery called Creatio - I am their art gallery director. (More information on the Erotic Art Show Call to Artists is online and on facebook. I'm learning Italian to be able to function in Italy for June, as I am doing a month long residency there. I'm reading and learning about the female in society, matriarch vs patriarch, myths and stories, archetypes, super-consciousness.

Julia Trops work can also be seen at  Gallery Odin.
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mentioned in this article @juliatrops