Julz Davidson aka The Sleepy Artisan
Mediums: Mixed Media; acrylic, watercolour, ink, gouache; waxed linen, watercolour paper, block printing ink
Style: Varied - I cover all styles
Favorite Quote: We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love. And then we return home. - an Australian Aboriginal Proverb
Favorite Books: Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
Favorite Movie: Dead Man
Miss Mia © Julz Davidson aka The Sleepy Artisan - a 9x6 inch storybook journal for a little baby girl named Miss Mia. Pages hand torn, painted & dyed. Lace, collage work, block printing and stamp work as well as hand made embellishments adorn this book.
I’m an entirely self taught mixed media artist embracing what I love most: creating in multiple mediums. I combine artistic & technical skills to produce one of a kind journals and storybooks that are a unique alternative to mass produced products. Each book is hand crafted, incorporating mixed media art with traditional 2nd century bookbinding methods.
Please tell us about your first creative experiences.
I’ve been creating since childhood learning different skills by reading about the various techniques and then utilizing them with much experimentation. My family didn’t have much growing up. I used to draw different characters and create a storybook filled with my own stories, which changed everyday.
To the Gypsy that Remains © Julz Davidson aka The Sleepy Artisan - a 9x6 inch ʻGypsyʼ themed photo journal. 120 pages in total, 40 pages that are hand painted and block printed traditionally with carved wooden blocks. 80 pages are block printed but left mostly blank for journal entries. Holds approx 80 photos at the recommended size of 3.5x5 inches. The book is then hand bound with waxed irish linen cord to a hardback cover that I created.
What music do you like to have playing while creating?
I have my little assistant, my 10 month old son with me all the time, so I mostly listen to Tibetan flutes and other meditative music which suits us both just fine.
If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?
I have the craziest job in the world - being a full time crazy mama to a crazy little boy.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your work?
Through my books, I find myself being led to act as a storyteller creating a visual vocabulary, providing a narrative through my work of something meaningful. My desire is to draw people in with colour, texture and other decorative elements, giving them a place to linger.
I combine mixed media art into each book, pages are first hand torn, hand painted, and dyed. Depending on the theme for my book, I may add original illustration and paintings, the use of symbolism, traditional block printing and some stamp work. They are then hand bound with a traditional bookbinding method, using waxed Irish linen thread. Only the highest quality materials are used and it takes an average of 15 stages to complete each book. The entire process is very labour and time intensive but I pride myself on the fact that each of my book is a labour of love compared to those mass manufactured in factory lines.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from several sources including nature, street art, sacred geometry, symbolism and organic forms. With a varied interest in art, the one thing that holds them together is my love of colour.
Earth Rhapsody © Julz Davidson aka The Sleepy Artisan - a 9x6 inch photo journal with earthy tones in mind. This is a work in progress, pages will have traditional symbolism and sacred geometry patterns infused through out.
In the past I participated in a privately held exhibition, I created a body of work based on sociopolitical art. I haven’t participated in any exhibitions as yet for my books.
Have you sold any of your artworks?
Some years ago I sold an abstract painting through my blog - I hadn’t imagined selling my art before. Currently my books are for sale through my blog, my Facebook page and my online store at Etsy.
Online art promotion
I use social media, like Facebook, blog, and my Etsy store. I like to interact with my audience regularly and use Facebook to showcase my works in progress. I also run competitions and giveaway prizes to my fans.
I’m influenced by so much. Artistically, sticking to one style isn’t something I aspire to, despite the majority of the art world doing it. For me, this strips you of everything about being human. It’s incredibly rare that someone will be so one dimensional as to only walk and feel one way in life.
I am fascinated by the works of tibetan thangka artist, Carmen Mensink. Carmen creates beautiful intricate art using the traditional tibetan thangka style. She’s even painted one especially for the Dalai Lamai.
Tell us something interesting in your life
I live with my husband, my little boy and my two dogs in a rural property down the end of a dirt road, surrounded by the food forests we built. We live 70% subsistently, an achievement for us, hoping to make that 90% within the next year.
Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?
Many moons ago I was working in the Banking industry. I was attending a corporate meeting when I visited the ladies room during a quick break. I came out to meet some of the guest speakers, and had all eyes on me. I didn’t realize that I had a trail of toilet paper stuck to the heel of my shoe.
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
I try to live an ethical and conscientious life where the choices I make in my diet and consumerism causes the least suffering to all living beings. If I could live my life over, I would like to have started on this path earlier.
Do you have any future plans?
I wish to continue to create books for everyone, and to do more commissioned paintings in the future.
Advice for emerging artists
It can be intimidating at times and you may feel like giving up. Stay self motivated with every piece you create, as long as you continue producing work, your skills will improve. Stay positive, your mindset can get you the results you wish to achieve.
Julz Davidson aka The Sleepy Artisan