Thursday Spotlight: Textile Artist Julia Brandao
By way of São Paulo, Julia Brandao has come to grace New York with knowledge of the finest cultural relics and wisdom from what seems like the world’s edges. As a textile and sculpture artist having traveled all over the world (though she calls Brazil her home), Julia’s love for collage canvases a mix of experiences and thoughts from the people and places she encounters. Her work largely prefacing the influence of memory, she glues together the thoughtful impressions that evoke feelings of familiarity through colors, shapes, and textures.
GP: Can you tell me a little bit about where you’re from in São Paulo and the things that stand out to you the most about the city?
Julia: São Paulo is an amazing city! I’ve lived there for the past 10 years and it was life changing. We have a great art and cultural scene, with many options of shows and places to go. The architecture of the city is something to look for since we have many iconic buildings like Oscar Niemayer’s Copan, Lina Bo Bardi’s Masp and others like Artacho Jurado and Villanova Artigas. Thanks to our last mayor we can bike everywhere on bike lanes. Also the city is an hour from the closest beach and you can also take an hour long plane to Rio!
GP: What is your preferred medium of choice?
Julia: I love textiles and the malleability of it. I always look for color and the different textures it can bring. But I also like sewing – everything, like plastic bags! I’ve also worked with paper and wax.
GP: When did you begin working with textiles?
Julia: I’ve had a deep relationship with textiles since childhood. My grandma is a seamstress and my grandfather is an upholsterer. I grew up playing in their studio. I was working with paper for a long time and looking for something else; a different kind of material where I could use the colors as I was doing with paper. One day I was at my grandma’s and I found this huge bag of old fabrics that she was keeping for some reason. I took the bag with me and started my textile experiments. Somehow it worked as the memory of my childhood.
GP: How long have you been making collages?
Julia: 4 years, maybe? It’s hard to track, since I’ve been producing stuff my whole life, but didn’t have the courage to show to anyone, until last year.
GP: How do you choose your materials (i.e. using silk over denim, cotton, etc.) when you’re working on new pieces?
Julia: The first thing that I look for is the color of the material. If the color is attractive to me then I already know where I can use it and how. I’m also trying to work more with silk, linen, and cotton, as the base for my projects but sometimes I don’t even know the material that I’m using. I just go with the texture, color and what I feel.
GP: Who are some of your favorite artists?
Julia: The works of Leonilson, Bispo do Rosário, Louise Bourgeois and Helen Frankenthaler have been a huge inspiration to me. But I also love Helena Almeida, Eva Hesse, and El Anatsui.
GP: How do you deal with situations where making art may not be the easiest thing to do at certain points in your life?
Julia: I need to express myself somehow. I think that, like every artist, I need to put my feelings out to the world. I have many pieces and works that have never left my room. Nobody has seen it. But the sensation of doing it is already a big thing. I think that not creating anything is really hard but not trying to sell them is very easy.
GP: What do you hope people can take away from seeing your pieces?
Julia: As I said, fabrics are a memory of my childhood. I just like colors that can bring you feelings, and I hope that my feelings show through the colors in my pieces.or