Julia Contacessi: An Interview

One thing we can all be certain of in life is that change is inevitable! It brings forth hope, uncertainties and the possibility of new beginnings. For Julia Contaccesi, it is the thrill of new discoveries within the process of painting that keeps her continuously developing her craft as an abstract artist.

The 'captain of her ship', Julia is a pioneer as she sails to new horizons on canvas, exploring through different mediums how to contain the unpredictable fluidity of the ocean and the way in which it interacts with the shore. 

I was happy to be invited into Julia's home, where we shared time together in her studio. Her abstract paintings capture the very essence of the ocean and all of the elements that provoke its unpredictable, yet captivating characteristics. 

Below, Contacessi, whose abstract art has become immensely popular worldwide and a personal favorite among designers for its versatility, gives us an inside look into her growing success as an artist.

Julia, looking back to when you were just a little girl, what was the very first thing you remember wanting to become in life?

This question is easy because I very vividly remember it. We are a family of educators and anytime we got together one of my aunts would ask me, "What do you envision for your life?" I remember thinking that I did not want to be a mom, because it looked like a lot of work. At the time I envisioned myself as a lawyer so that I could carry a brief case, because that's what professionals did. And what it ended up turning into when I got older and went to college was a big portfolio that I lugged all my art work in everywhere I went.

When did you first discover that you had an artistic ability?

I remember since grammar school anytime there was an assignment like a book report, or a class project, I was always assigned the art portion. If we were decorating the classroom, I was the one asked to draw on the walls or door.  In third grade we had to do a project on Harriet Tubman, and I was in charge of drawing her portrait. I got to bring the project home where my mother helped me by showing me to use pencil to do the outline first, before committing to coloring it in. remember going through the whole process with her and discovering then, that it was something I really enjoyed. That was the first art project I remember doing.

If you had to describe in just 3 words the process of painting what would they be?

Um, I would say hopeful because it's just a vision in the beginning. But usually it never turns out like the vision, so unexpected, and finally, once it's truly complete, satisfied

Why do we need your art?

You don't need my art! I only want you to have my art if you really love it and if it speaks to you. What I get out of my art is the feeling of escaping and day dreaming a bit, and this calms my soul. I don't want to influence a certain message on anyone. I would like for others to enjoy a quiet moment to themselves where they can escape too. I only want someone to have my art if that's what they get out of it... a good feeling about what they are experiencing. 

What artists have inspired your own style?

I love a lot of the modern work from mid-centry artists that were exploring color field and abstraction. Helen Frankenthaier and her husband Robert Motherwell painted together; 
they had very different work but shared the same process in letting the paintings evolve on their own and not necessarily having a plan for what they were suppose to become. I find my best pieces come out of spontaneity and letting the piece guide me to where it wants to go. I go for a lot of fluid motions, and you can see the fluidity in the piece when you are lost in it. A lot of times I will be so lost in the moment while painting that I will finish a piece and not know how I got to the end. 

Julia, if you could only use two colors for the rest of your painting career, what would those colors be? 

Blue and gold! Blue is a beautiful color, it makes me feel good, it's power, the color of the

ocean, calming, lovely and simply gorgeous! So I can't argue with blue. But gold to me, is the sand. It glistens just like when the sun hits the sand on canvas. It's also, metallic, I mean my God, it's wonderful! I love looking at it from different angles and observing how it's ever changing as the light hits it. It just really feels like sand to me flickering in the water.


My time spent with Julia in her home and studio allowed me to see beyond the abstract artist. Julia does what she loves and it shows through her calm, yet lively spirit. She began her painting career later in life, and has already come such a long way in just four years. 

Where will Julia take her art next? 

Keeping tabs on JC is a must! Be sure to visit her website here, and while you're there, subscribe to her email list, as she is great at keeping her art-loving friends up to date on the latest. In addition, take time to read through some of her own blog posts, which feature interviews, additional Q & A and press highlights.

Want to own an original Julia Contacessi? Shop now, or visit her print section for more options! 

Ahoy Captain and happy sailing! 

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