Today we’d like to introduce you to Juliette McCullough.
Juliette, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born and grew up in England where I went on to complete my adult art education in London which culminated in postgraduate studies at The Royal Academy of Arts. I then moved to Dallas and made it my home 30 years ago, and have lived and worked here ever since. Of course, my environment becomes a part of me even as I travel through it, so I quite naturally and very quickly felt that I became a part of the cultural environment which surrounds and nurtures me.
I have been blessed in being able to exhibit some on both sides of the Atlantic; that is not to diminish the struggle it has been to be a figurative artist in these times. I continue to share that struggle with all those who have dared to return to figurative imagery in the past few decades. Particularly, I share the difficulties that have faced and continue to face women artists all over the world in gaining recognition and opportunities. I did once have one of my paintings bought by the British painter Francis Bacon, and his words of encouragement have often sustained me.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do? Why? And what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’ve always had a need to make pictures about people, and what it is to be human. You could say that it is the human condition which is my subject matter, but I always find myself searching for the core energies that underlie our lives, so surface reality and representation alone never quite satisfy me. This is why I often work from memory, or imagination rather than from a seen reality.
I sometimes find that those core energies that link us to our instincts can best be expressed through animal imagery, and that’s why so often animals of all sorts can come into the picture.
Oil paint is my most favored medium; I love its messy lustrous elasticity and its forgiving nature.
My process of painting involves my whole being so it’s never just a ‘thought’, an aesthetic, or ‘feeling process’ alone. And I really hope that my images will involve viewers in the same totality of experience. In short, I see imagery as a container that I hope can connect us all on the level of our deepest human experience.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I think that daring to hang on to a creative life is going to be difficult for anyone in our culture today, as I am sure it always was.
It is tempting to think that maybe in the past, imagination and the development of the mind and the spirit through the study of the arts was valued in a way in which it’s not valued today, but nostalgia for a past we did not know can be misleading, at best, a waste of time.
We live in a world of instant material objects to the extent that we can view ourselves and our children as mere ‘products.’ Yet it is the ‘process’ we experience in and through the creative arts which is life enriching for both the practitioner and the receiver. I think this is why so many of us seek out an art practice because it connects us to those deeper ‘process oriented’ levels of ourselves, and it doesn’t require that we are professionals to benefit from that.
We always need places to show and share our crafts, where there is a real interface between the practitioner and the public. There is much talk today about the value of being ‘creative,’ but creativity isn’t a band-aid that can be applied to us as a quick fix when we don’t practice it in everyday life. The relationship between the creator and the viewer can change this awareness through the sharing of their processes. We need neutral spaces where the public doesn’t feel intimidated by the idea of ‘art as a product.’
The City of Dallas already has a great Public Arts Program, I just hope it will continue to grow.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Presently, I have two paintings on show at the Rice Gallery in Kansas City in the ‘National Figures and Portraits Show’ http://thericegallery.com/
I will be having a solo show at Brookhaven College Art Gallery this coming summer starting in June, and will be showing a collection of small works at Alan Barnes Fine Art Dallas 2611 Fairmount St, Dallas, next September.
Otherwise my website is always available: www.juliettemccullough.com
- Website: www.juliettemccullough.com
- Instagram: juliette_mccullough