More than once during our three long, intriguing conversations, David Julian apologized for his life not making sense — in a nice, neat linear sort of way. I was interviewing him for “Strange Beauty,” a profile on Julian I penned for AfterCapture. Julian’s apologies were unnecessary. An artist’s life is never easy to distill into clean, clear chronologies, even if that’s what writers attempt to do when we write profiles.
Julian is a photographer, illustrator, sculptor and educator, and his website is a joy to view — especially if you compare the overlapping themes between his fine art photography and his commercial illustrations.
At any one time, Julian is engaged in so many projects using so many types of media for so many clients that I could understand why he apologized for “not being easy to define.” However, by the time I finished “Strange Beauty” it seemed clear to me that throughout Julian’s evolution as a visual artist and educator it is possible to identify a very clear, very consistent thread: his desire to understand himself and the world around him through a process — sometimes feverish, but always grounded — of constantly playing with new techniques and visual media.
“I can now work almost as fast as I can think,” Julian told me of his love of electronic imaging. A master of Photoshop compositing, glancing at Julian’s work is likely to make one think that he’s all about composting, in a modern, technical sense. But Julian has been compositing materials since early childhood, pasting newspaper clippings onto pieces of glass long before he picked up a camera. Yes, Julian continues to thrive with an exploratory use of layers in Photoshop. But ultimately, Julian is concerned about the ideas behind his composites — and his straight captures.
Julian’s idea-driven artistic exploration is clearly illustrated by “Taken From The Heart,” the body of fine art photography he produced in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Photographically, these are straight images. Intellectually and emotionally they are anything but straight.
My profile about Julian opens. . .
“What struck me was as I was walking through this wasteland is that of all of these things—these personal objects dangling in trees—were lost,” David Julian recalls. “They were all tied to people who could not reconnect to them.” It was December 2005, and Julian, a commercial and editorial photo illustrator, fine art photographer and educator, was making his way through the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought upon New Orleans. Using his camera both to explore, and to try to understand a landscape that overwhelmed his senses, Julian remembers thinking, “whatever had once been outside was forced inside, and what had been inside was now swept outside.”
To continue learn more about the World of David Julian, continue reading “Strange Beauty” by downloading the PDF file.