Studio Chats: Julie Hamilton

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I first stumbled across Julie Hamilton on Instagram as part of the #100daychallenge. Her colorful and beautifully composed collages caught my eye, inspiring me with her thoughtful compositions and richly saturated hues. When interviewing her, I got even more inspired by her story and journey to becoming an artist. Craving ME time as a mom, Julie found a way to turn her passion into her work and expose herself to many classes, challenges and opportunities for learning and growth.

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Tell us a bit about yourself. Hello there! My name is Julie Hamilton and I am a surface pattern designer living in the mountains of Whistler BC Canada. I started my venture into this Art world when my children were young. I was spending many hours in the park while they played so decided to bring along my sketchbook. From there on in, all of my spare time was devoted to learning and art making. I jumped in as a Full time artist about 5 years ago. I completed all of the Make Art That Sells and the Surface Pattern courses offered by the Make it in Design team. From there I was picked up by A Fresh Bunch for art licensing. I have no formal training in the arts, just a lot of time and perseverance spent working through it all!

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What is your FIRST memory of being creative? Barbies! I use to spend hours creating the perfect settings for them to play. I cut their hair and made them clothes. I even pierced their ears with push pins. They were very well loved.

When did you find your way back to creativity? I found my way back to a creative life after having children. I had time on my hands while they were napping and then playing in the park. I started doodling and experimenting with creative ideas in my sketchbook. I carried it with me everywhere so that anytime I had a moment I could have some ME time. Art journalling became a way back to my creative self. Eventually I felt I needed a reason to justify the why of all of my time art making so jumped in when the kids reached high school age. Art and creating has become what I do and who I am. I have slowly evolved and developed my style both as a collage artist and in my art licensing world. It is a challenge and honestly I believe that is what has pushed me most days. I really just love trying to work it all together.

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What’s your creative practice look like on an average day? I have a strong game in the morning that unfortunately fizzles out during the day. The earlier I start the better because by noon I am usually done. It is a fast process. I try to spend little time thinking and getting caught up in it. I like to think of my early morning art as my “Morning Pages”. It usually involves a warm up and lots of scribbles and energy. I create intuitively and do what feels right. Usually later on in the day I go back to it with fresh eyes and readjust or fine tune it. I make art everyday. There is always music:)

Where do you find your inspiration? Eyes wide open. My favorite thing to do is head out the door and snap photos of color combinations, textures, patterns found in nature or in the city. My work is mostly intuitive so I do tend to work from within, experimenting with different mediums, colors and textures. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than sitting down to a big, blank piece of paper and creating something from nothing.

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Tell us a bit about your space and your tools. A number of years ago I noticed that we were no longer using our TV room. One weekend, while all family were away, I made the move - TV out and art supplies in. My “studio" is now situated smack dab in the middle of our house. It is an open concept but it really works well in the space. I have desks for the kids to do homework and a large area to create. There seems to always be someone wandering in to offer a critique or to just join in. I love the space - it is so light and airy. I also love the proximity to my daily life as i often have moments of inspiration that need to be acted on immediately... I can just head to my table and get it out. As for tools, I am a fan of mixed media but my passion lies in paper and collage.I love the experimentation that comes with making handmade papers and then creating scenes or interesting abstracts. Acrylic inks and my scissors are my favourite go to materials. I have devoted my instagram account to my creative process and the art of paper, pen paint and pattern. (@juliehamiltoncreative)

What advice would you give to anyone starting their own creative journey? Anything is possible.  Just find a way. Just start. Crayons, colored pencils, markers and paper. Find your favorite spot and experiment with color, textures and pattern. Change up your daily routine. This doesn’t just apply to art.. it applies to life and your approach to it. Change things up!

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Rapid Fire Round.

Being creative means: Being mindful. Eyes wide open. Stay Curious. Experiment and most importantly play!

My creative habit brings me: Joy. An outlet to play and experiment. A sense of challenge. A way to get out of my head even if just for a few minutes a day.

My advice to anyone looking to push themselves into a creative life: Create everyday even if only for 30 min. The more creative you are the more ideas flow easily. Try a 30 day project - work towards a goal and work in series.

Favorite book: John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love to read, but for some reason this book always comes to mind first off. I read it when I was 20! I may have to go and reread it just to remember what it was all about.

Favorite movie: Any musical...

I hope that Julie’s story and insight into her journey and process helps you to just START. To find a way. To create and play today!