We live in a time where most of the art we see is no longer hung in galleries, but flicked past with an index finger in a newsfeed on a tiny glowing screen. When you see the pictures Julie Filipenko makes, the swiping stops, and the stalking begins. Her creations plunge you into a surreal and beautiful world; dark and gorgeous, twisted and pretty.
DSM was lucky enough to talk to Julie recently and discover the artist behind the art, direct from Tel Aviv, Israel.
DSM: The pictures you make with your pencils and paper and paints are crazy beautiful. You seem to like mixing innocence and beauty with some kind of dark-fantasy edge. What draws you to create these pieces that you describe as “bizarre and sweet at the same time”?
JF: Because it’s a true story.
‘There’s innocence and a dark side living side by side everywhere. Boundaries are blurry and wrong and right are gray areas.’
For example, one can cause pain to someone else, but the same time he could be a kind being. There is no obvious black or white.
DSM: When you were a child did you always know you wanted to be an artist when you grew up?
: I didn’t consider becoming an artist until my late teens. Although as a child I was always doing crafts and drawing.
‘I actually wanted to be a zoologist and have a job where you interact with animals up close. That’s probably the reason why today I love incorporating animals in my artwork.’
I’m still very fascinated with the animal kingdom to this day, and try to keep up to date with what we learn about their psychology and behavior patterns.
DSM: Looking into the eyes of your characters, it seems like each one has history, has a real presence. Do you ever dream up backstories for the people and creatures you draw?
: Instead of specific stories, I imagine feelings.
‘I dress my work in those feelings, and if the viewer catches the intended vibe, it triggers within him certain emotions that he automatically connects to a personal story that made him experience those emotions in the first place.’
Thus making him the story teller.
: You’re from Tel Aviv in Israel. What’s it like being an artist there at the moment? Is there a thriving creative community?
JF: There’s a big interest and love of art in Israel, and we have a large community of talented artists. However the genre that I work with, Pop Surrealism, is still not completely familiar here. That’s the reason I mainly exhibit abroad rather than here.
DSM: What advice would you give to any aspiring artists out there who want to do it for a living?
JF: To all aspiring artists; never stop working.
‘The more dedicated you are, the more hours you’ll spend working on your art, the better you will become. There are no shortcuts, it’s all about practice.’
Remember that the internet is your best friend! There are many social networks that can help you get your art exposed.
And don’t forget that being an artist is not only about making art all day (although I wish it was so). There will be many “behind the scenes” responsibilities, which will be time consuming.
Go see more of this magical world on Julie’s Instagram here
Or on Facebook here
Or go grab yourself a print etc. here or here!