Julie Filipenko is an artist residing in Tel Aviv, Israel. Julie earned a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. Julie’s work emphasizes on the adventurous proclivities of adolescent childhood. Her female and sometimes male characters exhibit an ideal innocence in a lush colorful world where their cohorts in playful fantasies are docile creatures that exude a curiosity as much as their human counterparts. Julie’s latest solo exhibition ‘Secret Dimensions’ will be showcased at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 11, 2015 and will run thru January 16, 2016. We asked Julie a few questions about her influences and inspiration and this is what she had to say:
Much of your work features adolescent girls in baby doll dresses interacting with nature. The animals accompanying these young girls feel secure and safe appearing much like a stuffed animal for children. Is there something about this childhood period in which you have captured your subjects that can be related to your own life experience? What’s most unique about the time of childhood and adolescence is that everything is being experienced for the first time. Rather than reciting something personal, I’m trying to recapture the general feeling of awe about the newness of everything when first encountered, regardless if the experience was pleasant or not. The animals in my paintings are sometimes a symbol of a certain aspect of the portrayed character, or represent a certain trait of his spirit. Other times it’s about showing how the character interacts with it, since our interactions with others are a reflection of the relationship with our own selves.
Your subject’s appearance seem inspired by vintage fashion illustrations from the Golden Age of the 1950s in America. Have you ever aspired to be a fashion designer or do you express your love for the clothing of this time period through your illustrations? Though I never tried designing anything of my own, I’m greatly interested in fashion as an art form, and as encrypted code that holds within self the story of psychological traits that are unique to different eras. For me the dress code of 1950s perfectly captures the human struggle of trying to tame our biological animal instincts with intellect, and of the continuous attempt on the society’s behalf to put in a compactable box the definition of a “happy life”.
Your girls look daintily but they are definitely not timid. Do these girls represent “fearlessness” in feminist culture today or do you see them as an extension of your personal perspective as a woman living in this world? In many of my subjects I try to combine within it two different perspectives simultaneously. One of how the subject is seen, judged, and expected to be by others. The second is the reality of what or how it actually is. I think this dissonance could be applied towards a range of different subjects, feminism included.
Julie has exhibited in various group shows with galleries around the globe including solo shows at Swoon Gallery in Los Angeles, California and Hellion Gallery in Portland, Oregon. If you are interested in purchasing limited edition prints from Julie, you may visit her Etsy shop. To view more of Julie’s work, you may follow her on Instagram or her Facebook page.