Julia Andrews-Clifford is a photomontage artist with a studio in the seaside town of Hastings. After 10 years at the British Film Institute, she studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Julia exhibits frequently in London and the South East and teaches photomontage workshops at art galleries and museums including The Jerwood Gallery.
Her work involves ripping images and text from vintage paper advertising and magazines, and, using traditional cut-and-paste techniques, she creates surrealist images that disrupt and subvert their original intent. Her work flips between the personal and political, exploring the shifting tensions between anonymity, celebrity and personal identity in real and imagined people’s lives.
Julia is currently taking part in a ‘feminist artwork a week’ challenge in celebration of Suffrage100, with work being published in the Hastings Independent Press throughout 2018. The challenge began on February 8th, the anniversary of when the Representation of the People Act was passed in 1918 – giving women over 30 and owning property the right to vote – and will end on December 16th, when they voted for the first time in the 1918 General Election. www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk/
She is also participating in Kunstaeule / Frankfurt Art Column this summer, curated by Florian Koch and Daniel Hartlaub.
And last but most definitely not least, in partnership with artist and illustrator Mel Elliot, Julia’s next exhibition will be ‘Girls World’ – a celebration of feminist icons. Girls World will be open from Saturday June 30th at ‘OPEN by I Love Mel’, 19 Grand Parade, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 6DN
Here in her own words she tells us what inspires and motivates her:
Q: Did you have an interest in art as a child?
A: Yes I was an avid drawer and painter from very a young age and always loved free expression until my art teacher at school told me to make a decision; art if you are Picasso, design if you want to make a living. From then on I stopped thinking I could make art and went on to study English and become an English teacher. It was not until my late twenties that I began to crave a more creative way of life and started having the confidence to make work again and think about making a living from art.
Q: Did you have a formal art education or are you self-taught?
A: I went to Chelsea College of Art and Design to do a foundation course in my late 30s. There I rediscovered my passion for collage and photomontage and have been self-taught ever since – every project presents new challenges and problems to solve. I like to try new sizes and formats to keep pushing my comfort zone.
Q: Was there a moment or a person or a place in your past that influenced you or you feel set you in your journey to where you are now?
A: Seeing feminist graffiti written on a billboard by the bullring in Birmingham while sitting on a bus going into college. Everyone’s head turned to take it in and I realised at that moment that street art had a very direct and immediate impact, that it could really make a difference. Then when I lived in New York in the late 90s I came across a solo show of Hannah Hoch’s collages at MOMA and this had a huge impact on me, leading me down the path of collage and photomontage.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an artist in your opinion?
A: Experimentation, problem solving and creative play.
Q: …And the worst?
A: Lack of daily feedback and isolation – that’s why I also love to teach
Q: Please can you tell us a little about your working environment?
A: I work in a studio with 3 layout tables and a big space on the floor to work large scale for my analogue work. And a computer for my digital work, which I mostly do with my husband – the unknown image editor and collaborator – which is an amusing reversal of art history. I also have an extremely comfy armchair, which is great for taking time out and stepping back to look at the work.
Q: Please can you tell us about the process involved in making your art?
A: I start off with concepts and sketches, then do picture research working with my existing archive and new found images where necessary, then spend time cutting and preparing painted backgrounds and deciding on size and format according to purpose i.e. billboard or newspaper column. Then comes hours of experimentation with different layouts, photographing mock-ups and deciding on finished composition, marking it up, and then I finally stick the work down – a performance in itself and the one-off chance to get the work in the exact right position in analogue form. Sometimes the work is then digitised and worked on for different mediums, adding bleed, text, colour adjustments. Sometimes not…
Q: Who has inspired or influenced you?
A: Rodchenko, Russian Agitprop, Linder Sterling, Hannah Hoch, John Stezaker, David Hockney, Feminist Film Theory, Laura Mulvey, Angela Carter, Joanna Russ, Adbusters Magazine, Gerard Richter and many many more.
Q: And what is inspiring and motivating your current work?
A: Communicating old school feminism to new audiences. Provoking thought and debate and bringing the private into the public realm. My sketchbooks; conversations with women; Russian iconography and Russian graphics/German dada…
Q: You are currently exhibiting your artwork in Frankfurt, what other international art destination or event would you most like to visit and or be part of?
A: The Venice Biennale – just to see if it is as intimidating as it sounds! Also I would love to go to the Toronto film festival.
Q: What are your aspirations for the future?
A: A show of my ‘Everyday Icons’ this autumn, a collaboration with other collage artists/street artists in the UK and beyond, an anti-ad installation in New York/San Francisco next year.
Q: What advice would you give to those aspiring to make a living out of art?
A: Don’t ask me – I’ve got no clue how to make it commercial in a high street kind of way, but if you want to make a living then develop projects that are true for you and gain funding or commissions to carry them out. That way your authentic voice is more likely to shine through and you’ll end up getting noticed and selling work as a by-product of doing your own original thing.