Artwolfe: You mention that you were a self-taught photographer, how did you get into photography? What kind of camera did you start with? Tell us about the process of finding photography as a tool to express your art?
JuliART: Photography kind of found me at 17 or so through a friend. I grew up being very much isolated by my parents, I wasn’t allowed to have friends, go out, that kind of thing. Somehow they weren’t really interested in my school work either, it was a confusing time, being so different (and very much the most normal kid there is). So much so, that my entire childhood turned out to be a blur of fear and anxiety but during my teenage years I found a crowd that I could somehow fit into. This crowd was really just this one friend. She was 13 turning 14 at the time and I was 16 but we got along pleasantly, old souls they call us (lol).
But so yeah… she had a beautiful Canon 6D. At first I would go with her on shoots, she did these soft fairytale beauty fashion shots of school mates and friends. I really didn’t think much of it except that we were having fun and it distracted me from everything else. Then I started using it. Bit by bit, I would take photos of her, just for fun. We slowly drifted apart. I was getting older, she was feeling trapped here in Namibia and deeply wanted to move back to Germany. Then somehow at the end of my first year at the College of the Arts (I was studying Media at the time) the photography lecturer, Leitago !Narib, was leaving to start a media enterprise called Nawazone Namibia and I ended up interning for him as a social media manager. Somehow I ended up getting into being a full time events and fashion photographer as well as part-time freelance writer for the Namibian Consumer/Namibian and really that’s how I finally fell in love with photography and the ability to freeze moments in time and relive them through one’s memories and imagination. For me, the camera was simply the window with which I was able to make magic and sometimes even live in the parallel dimension of that moment… Kind of like spider man’s web launcher thingy.
Artwolfe: How do you incorporate performance into your work? What does performance and live art allow you to achieve that photography doesn’t?
JuliART: This is a very good question. Because I am so young, I think I have put off letting myself figure out what exactly I want to do with my life and somehow I am just going for it. I believe I am an old soul and a very analytic Virgo on her way to being maybe a bit OCD in the weirdest ways and a bit of a careless perfectionist (whatever that means) with so much passion for psychology and the human connection, healing, teaching (yet I don’t really like people that much, making it hard to make new friends). My mind blown by the amount of contradiction that lives in us, me. I.
Then I would say that live performance art is a lot more of my previous self. It allows me to feel, love and grow towards myself. It makes me free and intrigued by movement and the endless possibilities that I am. I get to speak and show love and maybe even explain myself through performance art, which I tend never to do with my words or my photography. My photography is more my desires, my fantasies, my love for the human body, it is sensually unapologetically me.
Artwolfe: Why is nudity such an integral aspect of your work?
JuliART: When I left Nawazone I never thought I’d continue taking photos but it certainly came with me. I got my first camera a cute second-hand 500D Canon, it worked perfectly and that’s all I needed. I found myself paranoid, afraid of being imitated, I had no real talent to survive in the big shark pool called ‘the photography business industry’, well commercial photography anyway. So I found myself having to decide between wanting to make money from photography or making art and following my dreams and desires.
Obviously I took the easy way out and just rather followed my heart and hope I don’t crash and burn (even if I do at least I’ll have one hell of a sexy ride before I crash). I find myself attracted to the processes of life, death and renewal and I try to do that with my work. Each piece is pregnant with a new vision and a new version of itself and so I am inspired. I chose nudity because for me its like looking in a mirror – when we are naked, we are solely one, nothing to hide, I can see your imperfections, because they are exactly like mine. They are beautiful, I am beautiful. I understand, I want to understand your being, I am connected and my aesthetic is in full bloom. Many times I end up feeling totally over the person’s personality when the clothes are back on and the ego is back up.
Artwolfe: Photography and the camera seems to really have enabled you to pursue your own artistic path. What piece of advice could you give to other young and aspiring artists, particularly in Namibia, who are looking to find their voice? Basically – is there anything you wish someone had told you at a certain point in your ongoing artistic journey?
JuliART: Sometimes it becomes so easy to hand out advice and tell other people what not to do or do and unfortunately many of those times it comes from quite a selfish place of validation seeking. Sometimes I wish I had someone giving me advice on art or what is out there within my reach but I believe I am quite lucky to have “found my voice” by simply being and feeling it, winging it, learning and failing at things. I had very little support or guidance in my life, just a bucket load of inspiration from being alive and trying as hard as possible to stay away from depression, negativity in general and I am sure one day it will be my biggest advantage. So if I was being fully honest I’d say to all aspiring artists, seek within, know what you truly like and enjoy doing, understand and cater to your personality. Get into it, think out of the box.
Artwolfe: Are there aspects of the Namibian art scene that you feel need changing or shaking up? If so, what sort of developments would you like to see in Namibian art?
JuliART: I currently have so much to say about the Namibian art scene and artists, a lot of good and a whole lot of negative and so I’d rather really not comment on that right now as my opinion could be influenced by a lot of external energies that I don’t necessarily agree with. But I will say this: it would be nice for fellow artists to be what they say they are, we are beings of a contradictory nature, let’s move away from being hypocrites. Saying you are open minded, does’t mean YOUR MIND IS OPEN.
Artwolfe: How do you see your work and your influences fitting into what is currently happening in the art and performance scene in Namibia?
JuliART: I don’t think I currently fit in much into the Namibian art scene, mainly because we only have mainstream media and like – what? One if not two art reviewers (slightly influenced by personal relationship with the artist and never really just an open not influenced by stereotypes or anything from the outside looking and feeling the art) in this country which on the positive side gives me time to grow and learn in my art before I can think of where I fit in or how to make a name for myself, so for now I am just having fun, experimenting. Namibian art scene I’ll see you, when you SEE me.