Collaborate! I would highly suggest everybody collaborates as much as possible, especially if you are in a class setting. After graduation, you will never have that same opportunity. When I started collaborating more, not only did I meet the “ting to my yang in art making,” but I also found my hubby. 🙂
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Sørensen Shaw.
Julia Sørensen Shaw, Creative Director at the Honolulu Design Center, employs tools from drawing, painting, and sculpture, to create works that fill the gallery space with a haunting presence that is simultaneously inviting and unsettling. She often works with different sculpting materials, such as pumice gel, joint compound, and other construction materials, to build up the surface of her paintings to capture a topographical notion. Julia has been featured in galleries in San Diego, San Francisco and Honolulu and continues to create new bodies of work that are on display at the Honolulu Design Center.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Reno, Nevada, where I had a great childhood, I rode horses all year round and skied in the winter. I am first generation American, both my parents were born and raised in Denmark. Although we lived far away from our extended family, we were fortunate to be able to travel to Denmark twice a year to visit.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always been creative and interested in art, but I didn’t realize it would become my career until my sophomore year of undergraduate school at the University of San Diego (USD). There, I started taking art classes and had some incredible professors who truly helped guide me and my art. At that point, I knew this was what I was going to do with my life.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I met my husband at San Francisco Art Institute. We were both getting our masters, and we started collaborating and fell in love almost immediately. Now, I’m so lucky and happy to say that my career, personal life, and love life are all totally intertwined.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have a show, “Qualia Through Color,” Saturday, February 25, 1128 Smith Street Honolulu, Hawaii. 6–10 p.m. Complimentary. Open to the public.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve been fortunate to be able to do a lot of traveling throughout my life. I always meet very interesting people, including people from different cultures and backgrounds. It helps open my mind to new ideas and concepts.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
I draw a lot of inspiration from nature, dreams, and memories including colors, textures, and shapes. When I was living in San Diego, I was able to experience bioluminescence on Mission Beach. And I made art about that for months!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe sharing my art with the world is sharing goodness. It’s my way of communicating to those around me who may or may not know me intimately.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Fake it till you make it.
- Just keep making more art even if you’re feeling stuck, just keep making.
- Apply to as many galleries and shows as possible and get your name out there.
- Make a website, have a business card, and be professional.
- Collaborate! I would highly suggest everybody collaborates as much as possible, especially if you are in a class setting. After graduation, you will never have that same opportunity. When I started collaborating more, not only did I meet the “ting to my yang in art making,” but I also found my hubby. 🙂
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would call it the “Make Movement”. Every person must make something new every day for a month. It doesn’t have to be monumental, but just make something, anything out of nothing and share it with those around you and talk about the process. If we all did this and shared it with strangers, we could learn new processes and techniques in a short time. It would be fun!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Julia Sørensen Shaw: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.