Ones to Watch: Interview with Julia Pomeroy

Find out more about Julia's work in our artist interview!

June 5th, 2020

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Your full name, and university course/year.

Julia Sophia Pomeroy, BA Fine Art at Leeds Arts University, 3rd year.

Can you describe your work to us in 3 words?

Inviting, familiar, luminous

What medium do you prefer to use?

Oil paint

What is the inspiration behind your work?

Analysing the figure in different scenarios, from portraiture to full body representation, has always been a deep-rooted interest of mine. As I’ve progressed through my degree, I have refined this interest by recording my own everyday surroundings. I’ve begun to unpick the fleeting moments within my daily experiences, and the relationships that build up around me – different relationships with people and locations. Although this direction can be seen as mundane, this has triggered a new passion for me as a painter to tackle. Drawing out relatable points from my everyday inspirations and celebrating them, helps the works themselves to become elevating and powerful. These are ideas many artists have interpreted differently, such as Edward Hopper, Pierre Bonnard, Edvard Munch, Caroline Walker, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Tacita Dean.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

I’m so dependent on my array of colours. Translating light and representational imagery through exaggerated, playful colours ignites my passion as a painter. It’s the primary trigger for my creativity.

During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I’ve been caught with needing to meet the final deadline for my entire degree, arguably the most important marks to strive for, so I have many requirements I need to execute to the best of my ability in my home. The art world’s surge to function online as well as it has been in reality has also given me a lot to work towards. I’ve applied to have my work promoted on many social media sites and gallery websites, and I’ve found artists and galleries, nationally and internationally, are really uniting to help each other be celebrated during this trying time.

I’ll also be working on two side projects. Firstly, I’m being interviewed by filmmaker Joe Pomeroy, who’s making a documentary on how artists, at different stages of their careers, are managing during the quarantine, which will be very reassuring and inspiring for everyone to see. Also, I’ve been asked to design the cover for Leeds local magazine Nice People for their 10th issue. Each issue spotlights joyful talent from musicians, artists and businesses in Leeds and some satellite cities, and I’m so honoured to be creating for them. Definitely check them out.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

I’m strongly influenced by post-impressionist painters. Predominantly the founder of the Nabis, Pierre Bonnard and his magical touch with colour and light. The same with Henri Matisse from the fauve movement. A contemporary painter I love is the realism painter Caroline Walker. She focuses on working women fulfilling contemporary roles, as well as traditional ones in today’s society, but her placement of us, the viewers, and the range of contexts depicted are massively exciting because of how she applies paint. Also, an up and coming painter called Anna Freeman Bentley who beautifully paints relatable rooms, busy with objects, patterns and contrasting light; idealising spaces you would want to find yourself in.

How do you seek out opportunities?

My degree has been great to help understand how to comfortably function as a freelance artist. I’ve made a collection of reoccurring open calls and competitions I can always apply for while following certain sites to find new, exciting opportunities. It is just as important to make things happen for myself, however. That’s why retaining contacts I’ve made with people from my degree and from over last three years in Leeds, even those from my foundation course, will be so beneficial, as I know we can create opportunities for one another and organise and achieve goals together.

Plans for the future?

I’m deciding to stay in Leeds to add to this up and coming cultural wave. I’ll avoid London for a little while but will tackle it eventually. I’ve found things are much more accessible, realistic and optimistic here in Leeds. It’s where I’ll refine my practice outside of education and build up a professional understanding of being an actual artist. Doing an MA is an option I think I’ll act on, but where yet I do not know. Working for myself in this new chapter is my next step.

Tell us about an exhibition that has stayed with you

As I mentioned before, an amazing painter is Pierre Bonnard. I properly found out about him at the exhibition Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory at the Tate Modern in 2019, and this show honestly blew me away. The paintings were stunning; his colour use, mark making, and relatable subject matters just culminated to a transcendent experience that was reflected by the amount of people I had to shuffle past when I saw the show and the ravishing reviews that followed.

It means a lot when you see another creator, past or present, doing something similar to what you’re choosing to work on and succeeding.

What are your favourite Instagram accounts?
  • Local Leeds illustrator @whereidraw – honestly so clever with his combinations of figures and objects conveying important and/or fun messages
  • Director and founder of Moniker art fair @tinaziegler – After organising her own art fair to shine a spotlight on street artists globally, she is now focusing on creating zero-waste resources for artists, how inspirational?!
What is your most successful piece of work and why?

I believe my most successful piece of work is ‘The Largest Influence’ because of the overall feel I’ve captured that emanates from the piece. The paint and mark making execution encapsulates all the different components in the scene and overall, accurately conveys the comfort and light embedded in the narrative. The personal relationship I have with my pieces also plays a factor in knowing which piece I feel is most successful.

Find out more about Julia’s work here.

Read about all the Ones to Watch artists here.

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