Julie Hawkins is an artist and designer whose bold abstract work recently earned her international fame and acclaim via a successful exhibition of her artistic designs at New York City’s famed Surtex convention which directly coincided with the equally regaled ICFF contemporary furniture and interior design showcase. Although she lives and works in Canada, Julie’s designs are soaring in popularity across the United States with special interest coming in from Los Angeles and New York City.

Julie frequently licenses her artwork which helps it get wider viewings. Her paintings have appeared on glass surfaces, heating systems, tech accessories, and clothing.

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In fact, in 2016 her paintings appeared as prints on clothes from a brand called Nuvango which had models walking the runway at Fashion Art Toronto, a show that recognizes contemporary art and its role in modern day fashion designs.

British-Canadian TV personality and designer Debbie Travis is a fan of Julie’s artwork and she has helped to launch the young artist’s career. Very recently, Julie was named an award-winning designer of art prints by Minted. com and her creations were featured in Interior Designer, Dwell Magazine, and Uppercase Magazine. Her art was also highlighted by Kimberley Seldon on a television show called “CityLine.”

In a recent exclusive #Interview, Julie Hawkins discussed her artwork and her hopes for the future.

Inspiration for designing and painting

Blasting News (BN): What inspired you to become an artist and how did you get into design and home decor?

Julie Hawkins (JH): I studied Interior Design in college and worked as a designer for around five years.

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I loved the work but really didn’t like being in an office all day. I had started painting a bit, in private, and then took a workshop with an abstract artist. I made this little abstract painting that the instructor was impressed with, and I knew that it was decent too. I loved her studio; her messy floors, her life -- and it just clicked. This is what I was meant to do.

I was off work for a year when I had my first daughter, so I began painting more (after the sleep deprivation subsided, of course). I went back to work for two days, and quit. I couldn’t stand the commute or the dress pants, so it was clear the corporate life just wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t easy to start out being self-employed, especially as an artist, but I’ve been figuring it out ever since. Collaborating on home decor has been a natural extension of painting for me, connecting back to my days as a designer.

BN: Your work is very colorful so what mediums do you typically use and what are your favorite color combinations?

JH: I use a very wide range…such as acrylic paint, with spray paint, watercolors, oil pastels, pencil, and ink.

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There are just so many color combinations! Green, blue, turquoise, and white has been a staple for me for years. Right now, I’m really loving navy, cream, gold, blush, and hot pink together!

Forthcoming exhibitions and projects

BN: On how many kinds of items has your art appeared and are you being represented by any galleries?

JH: Currently, I am represented by two galleries, in Toronto and Ottawa. I have collaborated with some very remarkable companies, working on clothing, furniture such as credenzas and tables, radiant heaters, pillows, tech accessories, and clutch bags! Specifically, my clothing collaboration with company Nuvango, was seen on the runway of Fashion Art Toronto in 2016. These items vary from leggings, to skirts, to workout wear, and more.

BN: You recently attended a convention at Javits Center in NYC so what was that like for you and how did the opportunity come about?

JH: Leading up to the show, it was busy -- very, very busy. The night before it all started, was nerve-wracking and I couldn’t sleep. The show itself went great! I have been doing art shows for years with my original art, but a licensing show was completely different. I really didn’t know what to expect. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled across the show, but I managed to check it out a few years ago to see just what it was about. This year I finally worked it out and decided to do it. The show was great. I met a lot of other artists, which is always the best part for me. I also was able to meet a lot of companies that are passionate about what they do, and about art. I’m really looking forward to future opportunities.

BN: What are the most rewarding things about being a professional artist and what are your biggest goals for the future of your career and artwork?

JH: The most rewarding part to me is making people smile, making someone happy, or making a connection through color and paint. It’s magical, really -- almost inexplicable, especially with #Abstract Art. I always say art should make you happy, because there’s enough stuff in the world to make you miserable…so it’s rewarding that my art can make others happy.

My biggest goal is always to paint more and to evolve as a painter. I would also like to meet more companies that I could learn from and potentially collaborate with. I enjoy the simple process of learning about their company and applying it to my art to create beautiful pieces together. Another goal would be to reach a wider audience, all over the world, to bring more people joy through art. A very specific goal I have in mind is painting a mural on a building, or offering more affordable large-scale options for exhibitions of my art.