Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Louise.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Julie. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I remember being a child and seeing my grandpa’s silver gelatin print of a banana above the piano in his house. The banana was peeled open, had two eyes and a smiling mouth, a white cutout of a spotlight beneath it, and the peels flapped out as if curtsying on stage.
Years later, I received my first point and shoot and took as many “artsy” pictures a middle schooler could possibly take. Fast forward a few more years, and a family friend gave me a film camera and I immediately plunged into the darkroom.
Thus far in my life, I’ve learned various forms of art and have gained many skills. Photography has always been appealing and accessible, especially after my mom introduced me to Photoshop. I became obsessed with digital manipulation but also adored being hands-on in the darkroom and with other processes. After many years of dabbling back and forth between digital and film, hands-free and hands-on, I finally discovered alternative printing which combined the two.
Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve ventured down many side trails to get to the road I’m on now. My problem is that I’m fascinated by every single form of art- especially visual. I’ve spent much of my time learning countless processes- becoming obsessed with one until I discover a new technique and then move onto that.
I’ve gained many skills, but don’t have enough time to practice all of them. I finally found gum printing which tied my love of painting, screen printing, and photography all into one art form. Finally, all of the mini roads converged into one.
Gum printing itself is a beast. If you care to read about it, you’ll soon discover it’s one of the hardest alternative printing processes to master, but after all of your tears and cussing at the darn thing, it does pay off in the end when you finally make a majestic print.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m a photographer who specializes in alternative/mixed media processes, especially gum printing- a 19th-century photographic printing process that uses watercolors which are hand painted in layers on watercolor paper (It’s kind of like screen printing with watercolor). Gum prints are hazy, dreamy, vintage-looking, and painterly- each print cannot be reproduced and is completely unique.
All of my art is about stories or at least creating a character who could be part of a story. Dreaming, writing, and reading are some of my favorite pastimes, so creating stories in my art is inevitable. I’m currently creating a book and taking portraits of bands, products, and individuals using this process. Collaborations are always welcome.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
L.A. is amazing because there are soooo many creatives (which can be a bad thing, too, ’cause now you have a lot of competition). Because of that, there’s plenty of specialty stores- I can walk into a local what-have-you store, rather than ordering online if I so choose.
However, when I was first starting out with my gum printing process, I was looking for a mentor and could find no one in LA- I had to fly out to New York for that and also grind my teeth doing hours upon hours of research. Because of that partial lack, there’s hope to bring fresh, specialized processes to this oversaturated city, which is where I come into play. 😉