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Art & Life with Joanne Julian

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanne Julian.

Joanne, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was raised in the San Fernando Valley by my fairly conservative, first-generation, Armenian parents. Both sets of grandparents had escaped to the U.S. during the Armenian Genocide. There was a lot of structure and discipline in our modest household, where hard work, good grades, good behavior, and good manners were the main expectations. I went to public school and worked my own way through college, teaching for the City of Los Angeles and doing clerical work at California State University, Northridge. Within five years, I completed two BAs and an MA hoping to be able to support myself as a studio artist by teaching college. During the next five years of teaching at College of the Canyons, I saved enough to attend Otis Art Institute earning my MFA while maintaining that job. I was lucky enough to study with inspiring artists Charles White and Emerson Woelffer. By that time, I was already showing my work and was represented by Jan Baum Gallery in LA, and I was also represented in San Francisco, La Jolla and New York City. Eventually, I also taught at CSUN and Art Center College of Design.

Throughout the years, I have had studios in Pasadena, downtown LA, Studio City, and now Mandalay Beach. I feel very lucky and grateful that, for over 50 years, I have been able to pursue my passion as a studio artist with the assistance of other great dealers like Neal Menzies, who placed many of my works in corporate collections in Europe and Asia. I am most grateful, however, to my daughter, Suzi, an accomplished academic, now a medical physicist creating cancer treatment, who remains a cooperative, loving, and supportive collaborator in life.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create large works on paper, sometimes extending up to 13 feet, combining various drawing and painting media. Over the decades, I have worked on several series that begin rather realistically and, over time, may become simpler and abstract. Because of an interest in gardening and nature, from a young age, my subject matter has included palm trees, botanicals, ravens, fish, insects, water, skies, stars and galaxies. Early on, perhaps because I have four Japanese godchildren, and I was a collector of Japanese woodblock prints, I spent considerable time drawing Zen circles and the exquisite wigs worn in the Kabuki theatre. Because I also spent my early years dancing, running and swimming, movement of these objects and their placement, in the often ethereal negative space around them, is also important to me.

In our world, where it seems stress and challenges are ever-increasing, I am interested in providing a respite; not just one that soothes, but one that suggests alternative venues, asks questions, engages and challenges the viewer often in a newly imagined environment where non-traditional elements coexist. Form, content, and communication must all work in tandem to entice the viewer to engage in my journey.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what quality do you feel is most helpful?
All artists must be pleased when a collector makes a commitment to purchase and live with the spirits that move us or when someone finds an image “gaspworthy” enough that they need that energy with them to inspire on a daily basis. Because I have organized my life so that income is derived from a different source, I have never looked at success in the art world in terms of financial gain, but in terms of my art continuing to evolve with increasing quality and passion as I grow.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work is frequently shown in Southern California at various museums and galleries as well as public, corporate collections. A complete list is available on my website. Visitors are also welcome at either of my two studios, in Mandalay Beach or in Studio City.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: (805) 263-6586
  • Email:
  • Instagram: Instagram@joannejulianstudio
  • Facebook: Joanne Julian

Image Credit:
Jeffrey Sklan

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  1. Karen Schifman

    November 6, 2019 at 04:17

    What a wonderful interview/article of an amazing woman and artist.

  2. Shelley Nathanson

    November 8, 2019 at 02:05

    A wonderful, insightful, and beautiful artist…

  3. Sarah Henning

    November 9, 2019 at 21:22

    What a great article about a very kind and very strong woman. Joanne’s works of art are as unique as the artist. Joanne has always been “gaspworthy”!

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