Artist Spotlight: Julia King

What is art? To Julia King ’19, art is “something you create that you want to create”. Or, more specifically, she says that art is something one creates for the pleasure of creating it. Julia is a fifteen-year-old junior at Western Reserve Academy. She is a day student from Hudson who, aside from art, enjoys science and dogs. Julia takes pleasure in drawing, both traditional (with a pencil and paper) as well as digital art. She began drawing around the age of five or six, although she admits that her work from that time wasn’t particularly impressive. Despite her supposed lack of skill, she continued to draw simply for the enjoyment. “I was a goofy kid and I just liked to draw weird things.” King mentioned that she wasn’t trying to impress anybody when she began drawing. Improvement was merely a by-product. King not only believes that anyone can improve in art if they practice, but she also thinks that art is for everyone. “There’s a bunch of different forms of art. There has to be something that everybody enjoys,” she says. In fact, she has expressed that she doesn’t think anybody is naturally “bad” at art. “I think it’s pretty impossible, actually.”

Julia doesn’t believe in bad art, just bad artists. An artist’s lack of variety and experimentation are things that make an artist “bad” in her mind. Challenging yourself in your craft is something that King believes is paramount to making a good artist. Julia creates art for the freedom of self expression. “It lets me get out a lot of emotional energy.” She doesn’t often plan a piece; she just follows the art where it takes her. At the beginning of her passion for art, she noticed that many of her pieces were darker, conceptually and visually. Now, her style has evolved to include vibrant hues and “psychedelic” themes. Julia says that if she’s feeling more playful, she’ll draw in an animated style. When creating digital art, she uses Photoshop and a drawing tablet to do so. Recently, King has worked on projects that superimposes drawings on photographs. The contrast of animated and exaggerated on top of realism is particularly appealing to her. In addition to 2D art, King enjoys stone carving and pottery. Other Reserve students who have seen Julia’s artwork have nothing but positive remarks. Upon viewing several pieces from Julia, Nini Wong ’20 simply says, “Oh wow. That’s gorgeous.” Hanley Jefferis ‘19 is a fan of King’s art, praising her “comic book style professionalism.”

When asked if she enjoys art more now that she’s reached a higher skill level, Julia says that while it isn’t more or less enjoyable, it is easier to get her ideas across. Although she still struggles with the occasional artist’s block, she’s frequently happier with the end result. Julia admits that it can be difficult to pursue a career in art (hence the term “starving artist”), but she might try to integrate her skills with a future in graphic design. Unfortunately, when trying to find time to create, Julia faces the same trouble that many Reserve students do. With school, she finds herself having less and less time to make art. Despite this obstacle, Julia’s artwork continues to allow her to freely express herself as well as impress those around her.

– Meimei Tannehill ’19

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