Julia Elmore sky portrait.jpg
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ABOUT

Art has always been front and centre of my life. I made my first artist friend at primary school; she spoke little English, but we bonded over art.

It was in the Library, whilst studying for my BA in Ceramics at Middlesex University, that I stumbled upon Raw Vision - the magazine that sparked a passion for Outsider Art and blew my perceptions of what art could be open wide. On graduating, I began as an intern at Raw Vision and went on to spend 15+ years there, working my way up to Senior Editor, whilst researching, documenting and lecturing on Outsider Art from London’s Tate Modern to Dr Guislain Museum in Gent. In 2008, I co-curated the first historical exploration of British Outsider Art for the Halle Saint Pierre in Paris - an idea that went from dream to reality in the space of 8 months. A period of curating small, independent exhibitions of Outsider Art in London followed before I shifted the focus to creating and sharing my own art.

As a balance to my personal creative practice, I run the Exploring Collections course for Outside In, supporting artists to research works in museums and gallery collections and further their art practice in response to their learning. The process benefits participants way beyond the research knowledge and artistic development; clarity and confidence also increase as a result.

My two sons keep me on my toes and I encourage them to get their hands (and feet) dirty and explore this wonderful world with open eyes and curious minds. I don’t sit still for long and enjoy long walks, taking photographs of the little details that catch my eye, talking to strangers, sailing with my partner and adventures with my boys. Our home is a chaotic, colourful cottage in Barnet, Herts.

ABOUT MY ART

Nature is at the heart of all that I do. My woodland walks provide a wealth of inspiration, from the light between leaves through the canopy of trees, to the tiniest detail in a skeletal flower-head discovered on the path. I take photographs as reminders of moments that move me and gather nature’s gifts to sit beside me and inform my work. 

I work on wooden panels for the strength they offer. Working in series, I approach several boards at a time, beginning by diving in and laying down a fast and spontaneous ‘first pass’ on each board. By building up several layers of acrylic paint - each layer often offering a very different interpretation to the one that went before - I sand the work back, exposing sections of previous layers. As in nature, everything changes as the painting evolves. This slow reveal of small areas, offers a sense of mystery in the history of the work, bringing to light hints and suggestions of previous passes, whilst never fully revealing what is hidden beneath. 

It is my intention to bring to my work, a sense of the quiet calm and connection I feel whilst in nature. The soft colour palette towards which I gravitate is a reflection of the feelings of serenity that being amongst the trees or close to water brings.