Julia K Lindstedt

Julia K Lindstedt

I first met julia in an art history course at uni. I got the impression she was special with a radiantly profound and humanistic aura. Confirming in this interview with the artist she straight up touches thoughts on worrying situations in todays society and the way art have supported her when the world feels grim and busy. She draws radient spatial scenarios, spacey and surrealistic, dreamy escapes from some dense present time.

What are you up to today?
Right now I’m sipping my morning coffee and thinking about stuff I should do today but probably will not. I’m a procrastinator and my motto in life is “why do something today if you can do it tomorrow”. Not always the most effective way of living but after having a burnout a few years ago I’m trying not to be to hard on myself. A good coffee and a book is never badly spent time. 

What’s your background?
I grew up in a small city called Gråbo (literally translates to Grey Living), and after being called communist cunt (ok today it sounds kinda cute) because of my style, and on top of that the racist party Swedish Democrats got a lot of votes from there in the European Parlament election -09, then I had to leave or I would just melt into a pool of sadness. Moving to the city, Gothenburg which was only 40 min away but still, going to art school and being part of a studio collective made the world seem a little bit more sense to me.

You draw surrealistic figurative imagery. Are there usually stories behind the imageries? Is it something that reflectcs you and your life in your paintings?
I like to think that there are stories in them, for me they are a sneak peek in to another world that might be out there, or could be. I spend a lot of time worrying, about everything from that I might spend too much of my small time on earth doing boring stuff to that some asteroid from outer space will smash down on us in a Melancolia-manner. However cliché it might sound the things I draw or paint are a lot a way to deal with anxiety. And I believe many artists can relate to that, feeling to much and the need out get a outlet for that. 

Some of your works have distint expressions of shape and colour, a bit a la Matisse. How do you create your paintings, tell us about the process! How do you approach the canvas? How do you choose colours and motifs?
I like to not have a plan when I paint or draw, just a theme that I start off from. It could be “treehouse” or “space” or just some figure I have in my head that I start drawing up lines from. I feel the most joy when I don’t care about proportions and trying to achieve any form of realism but just let the figures be a hot mess! The ideas usually grow during the making, and I often hate the ugliness of what I make, which I’m then fixing by painting over it, and so on until it feels finished.

Are you influenced by any artistic styles in specific? Any favourite eras or decades in general?
Drag queens in 2018<3 they are such an incredible force to be reckoned with! Watching the queens in RuPauls Drag Race and other queens on social media I get my hope on humanity back. Even if you can’t see the connections directly to my work the creativity, vulnerability, diversity and “over the top”-ness of their community is a big inspiration. 

After studying art a lot it’s easy to get fed up with the gallery-friendly art, even though there is a lot of exciting stuff going on there it can sometimes be too much to take in. But I’ve had some strong moments of seeing art that influenced me deeply and one of those was when I was a teen and found Basquiat. I love drawing with pen on paintings and seeing his work was so inspirational. I’m also madly in love with Laura Callaghans illustrations. 

There is also a special place in my heart for the movement of the surrealism. One of my favs, who didn’t get a lot of attention, is Claude Cahun. The work of Cahun was gender non-confirmative and you can only imagine how that was perceived in the 20s and 30s. 

Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?
I’m inspired a lot by music, if I put on a good playlist with some weird combinations like Easter and Angel Haze, then I’m set to go. However nature, space, tumblr goths and a good outfit is always helpful. You need to give inspiration a push, it’s not some magic touch that a few chosen “geniuses” are given. Creativity is for anyone who has the privilege of time to spend. 

Night owl or early bird?
Definitely an owl who wants to become another bird! I love sleeping and resting is SO underestimated. Since my day job consists of evening shifts I often sleep until noon. But in another lifetime I want to be the person who drinks my morning coffee when the sun goes up. I dream about being retired, I definitely don’t have the work discipline for this society, lol. 

Favourite Art museum?
Louisiana and Arken in Denmark are nice. I also had a strong experience at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, seeing the exhibition Gender in Art featuring many polish artist working on the theme of gender becomes so radical in the conservative and nationalist political climate that has captured the country. The exhibition also introduced me to the amazing art by Shirin Neshat, they had a whole room dedicated to her video piece Turbulent. I was alone in there and it was BEAUTIFUL and heartbreaking. 

Anything you wish you owned?
A house on the countryside, with a fence so my dog Tofu (and all her future animal siblings that me and my partner want to adopt) can run freely. She had a rough start in her life as a street dog so every time she’s happy I cry a little bit. 

Any art work you wished you owned?
Garden bench by Jenny Holzer, I love a good text-based work.


Images courtesy of JULIA K LINDSTEDT


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