Mapura Artist Profile: Russell Julian

Allyson Hamblett profiles fellow artist, Russell Julian

Russell Julian at work in the studio

Russell Julian at work in the studio

Russell Julian has been at Mapura Studios since 2007.  He really enjoys being part of Mapura.  He currently attends 3 classes per week, including Open Studio OneBecoming an Artist, and The Artist in Movement. The latter combines dance and movement and art making in the studio. Russell is interested in people and in opera, ballet and theatre, and also enjoys cooking and drumming. His creativity at Mapura Studios is an integral part of his life. 

He’s a thinker and provokes a considered response in his art work. Drawings, texture, variety, shapes, and circles describe the types of artwork he creates. Russell is confident in a broad range of media; graphic work, handmade prints, drawing, printing and sculpture. The title of his works takes the viewer on another creative journey. He created a work last year entitled “Shapes, Simpson Show with Movies” that particularly demonstrates this.  Russell enjoys being part of the creative community at Mapura – it inspires him to make more art and be creative. Mapura's Studio Coordinator, Margaret Feeney says "He will spend time reflecting on his work he has created, and often returns to deepen and re-work his artwork". He loves seeing his work on display at Mapura Studios exhibitions, but the process of creating and making art is what really inspires the artist.

Russell has exhibited his work at the Pah Homestead, North Art, Studio One, Bruce Mason Centre, Roar Gallery and Mairangi Bay Arts Centre – to name a few.

"Can this really happen” was a phrase Russell came up with and turned into a piece of art during the year long “Art of Theatre” course a few years ago. He was just practising writing and his catch phrase developed. It was turned into a piece of art – white vinyl lettering on an orangebackground put onto a light box. He also invented Captain Culture, a papier mâché character that appeared as a puppet on a swing in the final show of Art of Theatre". Russell enjoyed making this character “with cardboard and glitter and sparkles”.

I asked Russell if he wasn't able to come to Mapura Studios what would you miss? Russell responded, “I would even miss like not finishing class till 12 and then it being early. Miss being part of the group". While also enjoying being creative at home, Russell loves learning new skills at Mapura, inspired by the creative energy of others’ in his classes and the feeling is mutual, “Russell is an inspiration to the tutors and a generous member of the studio community” says Margaret.

He has a very good sense of humour and demonstrates perfect comic timing with one liner comments, he is also is extremely observant and often remembers important dates before anyone else does. “I like to remember colours by numbers, days of the week and months”.  

“I've been here for a while and that I’m in my 9th year already.” I will enjoy interviewing Russell in another nine years.

-Allyson Hamblett.

Banner image: Russell Julian, Shapes, Simpson's Show and Movies, 2014