Julia Brandão

Julia Brandão

I'm totally digging how New York-based artist Julia Brandão uses fabric scraps, as well as other collected materials like plastic bags or food wrappers, to create beautiful sewn and embroidered compositions that comment on consumerism and materialism. I'm so into these colors! Pleased to share some of her thoughts in this great interview!

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Hi Julia! First, I'd love to know some more about you! Where are you from, and where are you living and working right now?

I'm originally from Brazil and I'm currently living in New York. It's been tree months since I arrived in the city.  

What first interested you in making art?

Well, when I started, I wasn't interested in anything; I was just doing it because it was a natural thing to do. I didn't (and sometimes I still don't) know what I was doing, and what was the meaning of it. Nowadays I can say that I'm doing it because I need to express myself somehow. 

You've been working with abstract textile designs that look almost like beautifully sewn paintings or collages. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from everything that is happening around me. My memory is also a big box of inspiration, where time has already passed but I can still feel and develop pieces with it. Everybody says that they love the colors from my works, and I think that I can thank the warm country that I come from for that. 

What is your process like for starting a piece? Where do you find your materials?

When I can, I like to work in the mornings, before thinking of anything else that is going on, before opening emails or replying to messages. I can be absorbed for hours. I'm always working with different pieces at the same time.

When I need textiles, I lose myself inside the fabric store, and look for pieces I like. Depending on the texture, material, and most important, color, when I see a piece of fabric I already know what to do and where to use it. Today I'm trying to use only secondhand pieces of fabrics, coming out of secondhand clothes. But every time I go to the fabric store, I can't help myself from buying at least a half yard of a piece I like. 

I'm also working a lot with discarded materials, like plastic bags, candy wrappers, sweetener wrappers, used soaps and generally things I touch and I want to use. I'm also making some experiments with sculptures of textiles and embroidery. My recent pieces have to do with consumption and behavior. When I arrived in New York, I was a bit shocked by how everything is discardable. You need to have it, you need to consume it, and then just throw it away. 

Can you describe your studio?

My studio is my room now. On the table there are always the pieces I'm working on, thread, scissors, and books. I like to take the name of my pieces out of books that I'm reading, so, I always stop for a while and read a book, or a piece of it. The walls are always full of hanging inspirations or hanging pieces. I also have a lot of flowers that I let dry to watch and record time passing. It is winter, but I need a lot of light, and I love the way the sun moves into my room. It is a very special place. 

What is your favorite tool or object in your workspace?

Thread! All the different colors makes me want to work every time I look at them.

What is the most challenging or difficult aspect of pursuing art, whether creatively or professionally?

The most challenging and difficult aspect of pursuing art is being able to survive with it. Survive with it in many different ways, whether it is believing in yourself or making money out of it. Like Patti Smith said in her book "there were times that I had just wanted to leave the lot (of drawings) in an alley and be free. But as I looked at our work, I felt we were on the right path." It's a long and hard working process where the moret you do, the better you get, and more ideas will come. But at the same time being able to pay your bills with it, it takes time. The most important thing is not giving up or stop producing. 

What do you find to be most rewarding or exciting part?

The most rewarding part is when you are able to put your work out for people to see it; it is being involved in projects, getting new ideas that makes you want to stay there doing it for hours. It's being involved with what you love, and being able to show it. 

What does the word "success" mean to you when it comes to your practice?

I think that it is really hard to measure the word success, but I think that I'm already successful just because I'm able to do what I love.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects you're developing?

I have two group exhibitions coming up in Brazil, and also a pop-up show happening in New York in January, curated by Gisela Gueiros. I'm also involved in a partnership with a Brazilian brand to develop new pieces for their home line. I hope 2017 will come with lots of good news - despite our political situation around the world. 

Find more at juliabrandao.com!

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Jeff Kraus

Jeff Kraus