Photo by Yasmin Campos.
January 04, 2022
#GathreGood with Julia Glukhoy
You’re not just an artist, but an illustrator. Tell us how you got into art and what made you choose illustration over other forms of art?
I am a self-taught artist. When I began experimenting as well as learning art, I tried different mediums such as fiber art, digital art, and painting. With time, I kept coming back to the same form and medium of art, which was watercolor illustrations.
Tell us about your earliest memories of loving art. When did you know you had something special going on?
My love for illustration developed after graduate school as I began to realize that working in the pharmaceutical corporate world as a scientist was not the right fit for me. I remember sketching in my weekly planner during meetings and daydreaming about different color palettes. At first, I worked as a part-time illustrator and started teaching watercolor workshops. However, it was only a matter of time before my passion for illustration completely took over.
What is your favorite thing to illustrate? And what is your favorite medium?
I love illustrating people, especially children. I also really enjoy illustrating pets as well. My favorite medium is handmade watercolor because they are texturized and unique in colors. It also makes me feel good to purchase and support small businesses.
When you have a mental block, what gets you going? Do you have a routine to get into creation mode?
Whenever I get a mental block, I need to get my body moving. I am fortunate to live around nature and mountains, so I go hiking or mountain biking as long as the weather permits. Otherwise, I stop by my local yoga studio or gym. My creative routine begins with meditation and mantras in the sacred space that I have allocated in my art studio. After I meditate, I put on my favorite record and light up a honey candle to set the tone.
How do you unwind after a hard day? What are your favorite indulgences?
I first finish my night routine with my youngest before having time for myself. Afterward, I start my evening ritual by using body oil, putting on a feel-good show on TV, and sometimes I indulge in dairy-free ice cream. A few of my favorites are the lavender flavor from Eat Me, and Cado ice cream.
Are you as artistic with your home and personal style as you are with the art we see? Tell us about expressing yourself through home decor and clothing.
My home is very similar to my art style. It is classic, yet has a bohemian feel to it. I love wooden furniture, kilim rugs, and natural fibers. Most of all, I love plants and crystals in my environment. I keep my wardrobe very simplistic. I only wear a few solid colors such as white, grey, black, dusty pink, blue, and dusty blue.
The last two years have been a lot for us all. How have you attempted to create some stability and normalcy in your personal life? Do you feel relief while making art?
The biggest challenge for me was balancing freelancing and having my children at home while completing their schooling. After we settled into a routine, we created stability by spending a lot of time playing board games, cooking together, dancing, biking, and going outdoors on hikes. I also made sure that I had virtual coffee dates with family and friends. Drawing and illustrating definitely helped me cope with the world around me. When I create, I am in a meditative, calm, joyful, and sacred space.
We’re big believers that everyone has a gift or talent to share with the world. What is yours (other than your amazing art, of course).
This is making me blush. I would have to say my cooking. My background in chemistry and my creative side both have contributed to my cooking skills and dishes. This is one of the ways that I like to share my love for my family and friends.
What would you say to a young artist trying to make a career out of their passions? Especially one who is discouraged? Any business tips?
I definitely struggled as a self-taught artist. I thought that the process of making things would be easy, and everything that I made would be mostly good. In reality, it was far from it. I wish that someone had told me these few things, especially when I ran into roadblocks, and felt discouraged. Anything that you make, more than 90% won’t be good. You just have to keep making it. Revisit your old work and keep re-doing it, over, and over, and over again. You will get there. Your passion and dedication will get you there.
Tell us about how your love for art grew. Who are your favorite artists, old and new?
My love for art grew when I became an artist. I finally understood how much time, effort, and dedication all go into making art. Art is also a transcending experience, taking something dreamed or visualized, and making it tangible for the world to see, touch, and experience.
One of my absolute favorite artists is May Gibbs, an Australian children's illustrator. I admire her history and I have a deep appreciation for her watercolor illustrations. I admire Lucy Morgan for her craftwork, and for paving the creative road for others by opening Penland School of Craft in 1929.
For a modern time, I love the work of Anna Rifle Bond, I mean who doesn’t love her florals? Another favorite of mine is Beatrice Alemagna, a children’s book illustrator from Italy. When I read books with her illustrations with my son, it is truly a visual experience. Our favorite books are On A Magical Do-Nothing Day, The Wonderful Fuffy Little Squishy, and Harold Snipperpot’s Best Disaster Ever.