Julia McLain is a contemporary artist living in Dallas, Texas. Her work has been shown in cultural centers, galleries, universities, and art centers. It has embellished popular culture such as club murals and underground venues. McLain’s acrylic and multi-media work intentionally juxtapose a modern pop style with old world imagery, thus; creating a feeling that jumps through perceived time barriers. Julia McLain’s love of world history and vintage memorabilia have influenced her greatly. Though retro inspired, her work is not meant to be nostalgic, rather a haunting reanimation of long gone treasures into contemporary conceptual relationships. Mostly, McLain sees her work as a safe sanctuary to escape a troubled world. Julia’s background as a nationally acclaimed illustrator, introduced a pre-anime, whimsical hybrid style to late 20th century America. For this she received numerous national awards and write-ups. Her illustration followed by a graphic design background has notably transmuted to form her present fine art.
I often use anachronisms and juxtapositions! Anachronisms are objects from different times paired together. This creates subliminal feelings transcending time barriers. I am VERY inspired by imagery from past eras and cultures of World History, with a special love for Retro memorabilia that surrounded my childhood.
An illustration background deeply imbedded a dedication to craftsmanship. A graphic design background gave me a love for type as art form. Both backgrounds formed an intuitive drive to treat Fine Art as combined elements typically found in a page layout: headlines, graphics and story, but presented as an abstracted concept. I use to feel shame for having not been just a “Fine Arts” purist, but today I embrace those components as my greatest contribution to the work I feel a passion for!
Sometimes my paintings are packed with clandestine symbolism as in “Meltdown”. Sometimes they are tongue in cheek as in the series: “MODeival illuminations”. Many appear “Sweet” or “Cute” upon initial glance, however; upon closer look you will see or experience dark and sinister undertones.
I feel deeply and emotionally connected to most of my work. Producing it is therapeutic: working through experiences that spanned childhood and continue into present inner child. The soft, happy nursery characters of childhood gave me comfort in an often lonely world. Now, the reanimation and mutation of these “warm fuzzy” creatures into contemporary compositions, provide a place of security during this time of historical global turbulence. I find that they impact many people this way, but some are traumatized by it as that period must have represented something very dark and traumatic that they do not wish to remember. Some people have undergone intentional trauma based mind control. Imagery can trigger very frightening responses, and though I may not say, I have had the personal experience of knowing people who have confided this to me. So a very innocent image can be immensely powerful!
I use anachronistic color as well and almost always! For example: juxtaposing antique or faded color pallets against a vibrant, contemporary colored object. Sometimes I love to explore color combinations popularly perceived as nauseating and make them work. The brown and acid green in my floral, “Coco Mint” is a perfect example.
I often paint series: most recently, non-traditional vintage inspired flower forms. Some florals explore explosive force fields. Some push 3D prismatic light rays into an intentionally flat dimension.
I try to break normal composition rules (i.e. “Inflatable Garden: Cotton Candy,” where old world and my cartoonish styled flowers float into the same time-space). You might see Renaissance borders float by instead of surrounding the centered subject matter as in a traditional composition.
My usage of the mentioned devices above, purposely induce the viewer to use their own imaginary perspectives to fill in gaps and I encourage that, rather than asking me for a narrative! I hope you gain your own interpretation which may possibly bring you some kind of self revelation, inspiration, disturbance, dislike or just an enjoyable experience!