Growing up as a member of a creative family in Annapolis, MD, Julie Deckman has been dabbling in art her entire life. After graduating from the College of Charleston and deciding that the 9-to-5 life was not for her, she made the leap to full-time artist. Julia’s work vary in subject matter and medium, but bright, vivid colors are a constant. She recently opened the Julia Deckman Studio in her hometown of Charleston, SC, where she exhibits her art and invites her community to come along for the ride through workshops, exhibitions, trunk shows and more!
Your art ranges from abstract to more realistic. Was this a progression of style or do you continue to paint both?
A bit of both. I am self taught, meaning I did not attend art school or major in the arts. As a result, I have been exploring mediums and composition styles with my professional art practice. I try to follow my inspirations; I find that my work is at its best when I'm digging into something I am especially excited about. When I first began pursuing my career, I was motivated by floral and botanical compositions. Georgia O'keeffe was and is a huge inspiration. Next I became very galvanized by architecture. I live in Charleston, which is full of incredible inspiration. Abstract is a newer approach for me. I began exploring color studies during quarantine, I needed to pursue something more intuitive. ALL of my work, regardless of style, is about color. Abstract studies are the purest way to explore relationships between colors, form and negative space. While I am focused on abstract pieces at the moment, I will most certainly revisit botanical and architectural compositions.
Your use of color is so fun! What inspires your color palette for a new piece or series?
Thank you! Color is truly my obsession. My palettes are inspired by everything from a walk around the neighborhood, to editorial fashion shoots. I compile folders of inspiration on my phone and computer. When I am ready to plan a piece, I first need to determine if I want to exhibit bold and dynamic contrasts, or more complementary, subtle arrangements. From there it's a lot of custom mixing, trial and error. I keep at it until I get the right feeling, which I describe as a sense of balance.
You have taken the term “studio” to a whole new level! Your studio not only showcases your art, but the work of other artists...as well as events, workshops, classes, trunk shows - even a wine store. Is there anything you don’t do?! :)
Haha, life is too short and I’m going for it! When I got the opportunity to open my own studio space, I knew I wanted to activate every inch of it. I owe so much to my local community and fellow creatives, so developing an innovative retail space was a priority. My retail salon is a place where local makers can exhibit and sell their work, and my community can support small, creative businesses. I designed the space with creative education in mind as well. I host guest makers and instructors for adult workshops. No experience required, just something fun and different to do with friends and strangers.
I have personally grown tremendously through my exhibition opportunities, so I also wanted to establish a gallery space for guest artists to create cohesive collections, translate their work into a public exhibition and experience the joy of opening events.
My bottle shop is the icing on the cake, fine wine pairs perfectly with fine art!
Tell us about a childhood memory or experience that has influenced your art.
I have been painting for as long as I can remember. One of my first memories is painting at an easel in my diaper in my grandfather's backyard, I was probably around 2. Pop-pop always encouraged and celebrated my creativity, and I like to reflect on these memories when I am going through periods of self doubt or imposter syndrome. They remind me that, yes, I am in fact an artist, and always have been. Being an "artist" isn't something you are given or named, you choose it (or maybe more accurately, accept it) for yourself.
You call Julia Deckman Studio “a resource for fine artists and makers” Explain what that means to you.
Opportunities for sales and exhibitions are few, far between and HARD earned when you are an artist. I wanted to create a space that makes exposure for emerging makers more accessible and reliable. My studio is a place where people can engage with creativity across all levels, whether it's through shopping, viewing an exhibition, or taking a workshop. It connects local makers to local consumers. My studio is a place where fine art and small business becomes attainable to a community.
What can you share about yourself that perhaps isn't expressed on your website or social media?
I come from a big family and am obsessed with food and animals!
I'm the oldest of 5, and have always taken my "job" as big sister very seriously, haha. My mother's parents immigrated from Argentina, and I have lots of memories sharing countless meals and Argentine traditions with my cousins. My sister and I have learned how to make our family's empanada and milanesa recipe, which has been so fun to share with my friends here in Charleston. My father owned and operated restaurants while I was growing up, so I have always been drawn to food and hospitality, it's an art form of its own.
My husband and I currently have 3 dogs and a cat, but have dreams of a rescue farm, donkeys and chickens in our future. A house just isn't a home unless there's someone furry in it.
Feel free to email us for a full peek of Julia's latest collection before it officially goes live here this Wednesday 18th at 9 am est.