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Meet Julia Kovaleva

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Kovaleva.

Julia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m always confused talking about «start» because I’ve been an artist as long as I remember. I’ve been painting all my life. Started with schools and teachers I’ve ended up in Moscow Academy of Art. It looks more like «army» than «art». They want you to give them masterpieces but you got no creative lessons. You just have to learn this life yourself while your professor is asking why are you so talentless.

But at the same time, you have to spend hours and hours painting and drawing so you get good basics in the end. The sad part is that you’ll probably never want to do this again.

In the middle of my studying (it took seven years), I started doing photography and it saved me. It was always something I wanted to do but wasn’t able to because I couldn’t afford a camera and had no idea how to make photoshoots.

I’ve begun with shooting my friend’s soccer games for fun and then accidentally got into a studio. After small photo courses, I’ve started to shoot as much as possible and got the first job.

But I was never led by money. I feel like I still do most of my work for free. Art is the only priority for me. Most of the time I was shooting model tests, collaborated with other artists for magazines and even took part in some crazy photo challenge.

At the beginning of the last year of my studying in Academy, my life has changed completely. I went to California and spent several weeks here studying and traveling. After I got back to Moscow, I realized I can’t see my life there. Last year was amazing, by the way, I’ve made a diploma project I really proud of and proven myself and everyone that I’m a true painter and artist. But then I gave up painting for some time.

It was actually very hard to decide whether I’m going to be a photographer or a painter. Studying painting was exhausting and I thought that it’ll take a lot of time to recover. But I’ve accidentally (as it usually happens to me) fallen in love with watercolor. For me, it was always some kind of magic and I wanted to learn it. I’ve started my Instagram account (@jk.painting) painting portraits and improved my skills rapidly. Since I was 14 it was the first time I did it for pleasure not because I had to.

And the journey continued when I’ve moved to Los Angeles. Such things are always life-changing but I really can’t remember my life before. It wasn’t moving to another continent. For me, it was like coming home.

When I moved to Los Angeles, it was like the whole new world opened to me. You never have these opportunities living in Moscow. It’s completely mind-blowing and inspiring but at the same time, it terrifies. Like you have too many things to do but you still want to stop and live your life enjoying what you already have.

Before I moved I thought of shooting concerts and it was what I started here. Music means the world to me and I’m obsessed with the idea of getting into this as a photographer. It feels like a combination of everything I love in photography: personality, mood, amazing stage light. This world truly fascinates me.

I also thinking of becoming a huge painter one day but I have to grow up firstly. I love painting portraits but I want to tell stories that’s why I need more life experience.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll have an amazing journey because I’ve chosen this path – to be an artist. Or it has chosen me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being an artist isn’t very predictable and gentle path. Sometimes it reminds me of some kind of therapy. You run from unbelievable inspiration to complete hopelessness all the time trying to realize who you really are. But at some point, you finally understand how to deal with it and how to benefit.

Tell us more about your work.
My favorite object is always a human being. I love making simple portraits, beauty, I love black and white, catching mood, psychology. But at the same time, I prefer clean and neat pictures. Pretty natural but in a perfect way.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I’ve always been dedicated to my art and enjoying the process. For me to do what you love and to create is the main. I am also grateful to my country for great education and life experience which helps me every day.


  • Photoshoot starting at 300$
  • Custom painting starting at 300$

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Image Credit:
Julia Kovaleva

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