An Interview with Julie Wolsztynski


A fellow artist represented at Adah Rose Gallery, Julie Wolsztynski is a freelance photographer, born in 1984 in France. Her work is eloquent, refined, and evocative. I'm particularly taken by her sensitivity to composition and texture. She attended the Centre Iris for Photographic Arts In Paris in 2008, and arrived in Washington, D.C in 2010 where she now works and exhibits. 

To see more of her work, visit Artomatic 2012 where she's sharing a room space with Angela Kleis (9th floor, room 215) through June 23rd, or visit her website or tumblr site.

What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you?

Woo, that is a hard one! Well, maybe what people should know about me is really what they usually ask about my art: what kind of photography do I do? Which is a fair question. So, what I would say is that I have trouble defining my photography, as much as I have trouble to define myself, as hard as we all have trouble to define ourselves, and it's just fine. Isn't it?

What's your favorite piece from your Artomatic exhibit and why?

The way we see a photograph changes thanks to the support. It’s not the same feeling whether it’s on slide film, a computer, a print or framed on a wall. So, my favorite is “Rue Longchamp #2”, a piece from a series that was supposed to be more supportive than central. But once printed in large size and hung on the wall, I totally rediscovered it, like a second reading. Even though I composed it, shot it and worked on it this picture surprised me, that’s why I like it.

Rue Longchamp #2
Do you make art intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?

It’s a kind of in between. I would say that generally there are two major steps in my work and the second one does not work without the first. The hardcore plan is a long process with lots of thoughts and questioning but not that much visual conceptualization. I am looking for an idea, a feeling, an answer more than an aesthetic process. When I feel ready, I start to shoot. Then it’s really just about instinct, pleasure and relief. The best part! I guess it’s like in any other field; good preparation is key.

The opposite can also be true and when I am not prepared I can be unable to take a picture because I don’t get the point. That’s basically what happened with NYC, it took me a while before being able to picture it.

Manhattan Sestet
Who is your biggest influence and why?

It could be weird but it’s not a photographer. A good book gives me the desire to write and, a good dish the desire to cook… but it doesn’t work the same with photography. Of course, I do love spending time watching tons of any kind of photographs or photographers I like, such as Duane Michals, Saul Leiter, Sally Mann, Jeffrey Silverthorne and more, but it’s not for a creative purpose. I am more influenced by artists using other mediums. For instance, literature is very important as well as cinema. I often carry memories, colors, and emotions from a film with me when I am taking pictures. 

Spontaneously, I am thinking about “Tricks” from Jakimowski or “The Return” from Zvyagintsev… 
Also, Terrence Malick and Steve McQueen (UK) are the best examples of the kind of film directors that project me onto a very sensitive and creative mood. They both have, in a different way, an accurate sense of timing and poetry. They use amazing lighting and compositions and contribute to make us be able to see the world with a different view even when we are not looking through a lens. At least that’s what they do to me, and that’s what I try to do myself. 

A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never ever sell. Tell us about yours.

Even though it’s not really a “piece”, there is one thing that immediately answered this question; it’s my Rolleiflex -- an old medium format film camera. This camera is so important to me that I had to mention it…It got broke many times and I sold many cameras when needed but this camera is almost like a part of me (I know it’s so cheesy to say that), I would be unable to sell it. It’s not an inheritance, there is no childhood story behind it, and there are no emotional memories. It’s just my camera. The one I bought with confidence about what I would do and what would be my medium. And every time I take a picture with it I feel confident… Trust me, I protect it like the Holy Grail!

Thanks, Julie, for taking the time to share your process and background! Her work is beautifully mounted with a interesting juxtaposition between warm textures in the actual image and the sleek final presentation. Check her (and Angela) out at Artomatic!

Artomatic 2012 Favorites Part 1


I have to take it all in at Artomatic piecemeal. Here are my faves from the 2nd and 11th floors. There's a lot of gems throughout the building, and many small wonderful pieces very reasonably priced. If you're thinking about collecting, or want to add to your existing finds, this is a great place to spend a day (or two or three). In no particular order...

Joanna Knox Yoder - 11th floor, space 279 - Lush, haunting photos (wet-plate collodion tintypes) of family heirlooms. Loved how she wrote a story beneath pieces. From her Artomatic profile: "All of these photographs were taken in my attic studio where I have a small darkroom set up near my large format camera. It was important to me to photograph these in the attic because the series is about my family heritage." Her website lets you explore a few different series. Photography is usually very strong at Artomatic, so it will be tough to list all the talent in this medium.

Gail Vollrath - 11th floor, space 265 - As an abstract painter, I can be hard to please in this arena. Gail's paintings mixing tar and oil paint blew me away. I could've stood in front of her piece Tumble all night but she was there in her space and, well, I was feeling awkward staring at it for so long. I think for my overall final list I'll do a Top Ten Pieces I Would Buy If I Could. If so, Tumble is on it.

Huguette Roe - 11th floor, space 158 - Another photographer. Loved the Urban Exploration series. I'm a sucker for abandoned buildings and though so many photographers use them as subject matter these days, her sensitivity to cadence -- steel beam beside beam beside beam -- set her work apart.  From her Artomatic profile: "[Abandoned sites] have a soul and an imprint of their decay will keep some of their history in memory.... I grab the complex angles, graphic rhythms and patterns I can discern." If this is your kind of stuff, it's worth it to go through the whole portfolio of 200+ images.

Emily Piccirillo - 11th floor, space 129 -  I'd seen her cloud paintings tied to steel frames online but never in person. What a treat! Top notch handling of materials. I enjoyed the tension between the natural world and imposed structure, plus how the steel lifted the painting away from the wall. She had selected a room, not an open wall, and this really lets the viewer step into an experience.

Marty Ittner - 11th floor, space 104 - I saw quite a bit of engaging encaustic but Marty stands out thus far. Great presentation (loved her takeaway/biz card), and I'm a nut for text. Rich stuff here.

Dana Greaves - 2nd floor, space 161 - Wonderful portraits done in vibrant color with acrylic and charcoal on panel. Loved her use of line too. They drew me in and the surfaces didn't disappoint when I got close. She's another artist I'd like to buy from. My faves are Friend 11, Friend 1, and Friend 10.

J.L. Hussey - 2nd floor, space 122 - Bright and bold tributes to blues musicians. Love the attention given to the frames.

Stephen Boocks - 2nd floor, space 196 - Another cool artist on the 2nd floor, but I might be biased :)

Kudos also to Caitlin Phillips (11th floor, 366), Bob Elliott (11th floor, 357), and Bhaval Shah Bell (2nd floor, 100) for stellar presentation of their work.  Caitlin also has an etsy shop for her whimsical book purses, plus "Naughty Bits" pins made of phrases from trashy romances. Gotta love it!

There were a few others I wanted to write about, but couldn't find much in the way of a web presence. Don't forget to use the Artomatic catalog of artists benefit to at least upload some images and say a few things about yourself. Or take an afternoon and set up a quick/easy/free website like weebly offers. Artomatic is a great opportunity not just to show your work, but to make connections, so be sure to promote yourself effectively. You're in the mix with a lot of other artists, and many know how to market themselves, so let visitors leave with more than just memories of your work.

New Work: Is it May already??


Between travel and a sinus infection, it's a wonder I got anything done this spring, but it's been a productive time. Here's a bunch of the new work. I'll try to circle back and share the background on each piece when I get a chance.

We are all just little birds

Red String (Fortune)

Blank Slate

Pandora's Apology (Hers to Give)

Thaw (Winter came in on a fast horse)

Ligature (Ties That Bind) - Veils Series

Glorious Exultation (The Story of Her Life)