Every week, The Mac Weekly sits down with an arts major. This week we caught up with studio art major Juliette Myers ’17. What kinds of art do you make?
Most recently, I’ve been doing printmaking and painting—those have been the main things. That’s mostly oil painting on large canvases, and then I do some watercolors on my own. I also draw. I’ve mostly just been doing 2D.
How would you describe your style?
I do a lot of surrealism, a lot of ambiguous forms, connections and abstract scenes. I don’t really do realistic. I don’t do any realism or scenes. I haven’t done that in a long time. I do a lot of bodies and faces kind of melting into each other to portray different thoughts and feelings in the subconscious, because that’s how I wrap my head around things. I’m a very visual person, so whenever I’m going through and figuring out my emotions, it’s always to make these strange connections, so that’s kind of how my art is.
So would you say you draw mostly from your imagination, or from the world around you?
Well, I guess that literally it would be just my imagination. But I’ll see something, and I’ll be like “oh, that’s really cool!” and I’ll incorporate it. But I won’t look at something too often. Sometimes I will, but it’s mostly from my head.
Have you ever been inspired by a specific event?
One thing that comes to mind is this painting, this large abstract self portrait. It’s sort of like this kid/teenager version of me in a weird, dream-like setting, and that was about the transition between being a kid and a teenager, and losing innocence growing up. There are other things as well, like I studied abroad in Florence in this art program, and I was carving marble, and when we were coming up with the idea for our project we were supposed to see the image in the stone, not like cut something on it. My grandpa had just died, and so it was like a dedication to him based on memories I had with him. So there will be certain specific things that come up.
What do you enjoy most about making art?
I don’t feel like I’m very good with words, and I feel like art is a way I can say what I’m feeling without the expectation of getting it out right with language. I think art is a universal language that we all have the capacity to speak, and you can say so much with art that you can’t with words, on a much deeper and rawer level. So for me it’s communicating with other people, but also communicating with myself, and seeing what’s on the inside. Do you feel that there’s sometimes a difference between what you meant to say and what viewers interpret?
Sometimes. Most of the time, when I make art, I’ll just draw something, and then I’m also trying to figure out what it means. I feel like when people see what they see, it helps me to see what’s coming out.
What’s your creative process?
I’ll look at a lot of inspiration, whether it be things I see around me or different works of art, and then I’ll do lots of doodling. But what helps me a lot is reading different books on various topics. Sometimes I’ll read something or I’ll learn about a theory by somebody, and then I really like to transform that theory into a visual form.
How are you involved in art outside of the classroom?
I like to do art in groups. For example, my whole house and I will sometimes draw or watercolor together. I like doing it both as a social thing and as just getting together and not doing it for anybody but yourself, just freely drawing. Right now, I’m painting a mural for my friend’s studio. There will be things that I’ll make for other people, or my friends will ask me to do something.
What are your interests or hobbies besides art?
I love dancing, which is another way to communicate without words. I do hip-hop and African dance right now, but I’ve done contemporary and jazz before. Then I also do yoga, I meditate, I hike and go to concerts (if that’s a hobby).
How did you become interested in art?
I’ve been doing art since I was two. Apparently I would just wake up in the mornings and wake up my parents and ask for a piece of paper and I would just be like drawing, drawing, drawing, drawing. So finally they put me in art classes, and then I went to an arts high school. I don’t remember ever not making art. So I always knew I wanted to be an artist.
Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve made?
I guess the two I mentioned before that are about something specific in my life. The painting that’s of me in the surrealist setting, just because it’s the biggest painting I’ve done…I can see so much of myself in it, specifically because the whole process was also an emotional process. And the same with carving the marble, because it’s such a long, grueling process, and because I made it as a dedication to someone I loved, it’s one of my favorite pieces. What’s your greatest challenge with regards to making art?
I feel like I struggle with feeling the pressure of other people’s expectations, and not meeting them. So that can cause a block, because I’ll be afraid to make something.
How is your art connected to other interests you have?
I want to be an art therapist, and then I’m also kind of like looking into movement therapy. It’s the whole thing of communication without words. I want to help to guide people in this process of learning about themselves, in an organic, personal and creative way that uses other forms of expression.
Is there anything you’d like to mention about your art?
I use lots of colors most of the time. I kind of have a problem, like I need to learn to do color schemes, because I just use all the colors. But then at the same time, I think it’s kind of fun, because I just think I have a lot of feelings, which then shows in my art when I use a lot of colors. It’s cool because it helps me to make art, and I feel like it helps my relationship with myself, which is the most important thing.