Independent, hardworking, self-made, tough-girl who knows how to pair elements of color with unmatched precision - that’s Gina Julian. Currently living in Franklin, TN, Gina has had a lifetime of experiences that add up to more than the candles on her birthday cake.
Gina has always been detail oriented and drawn to careers that call upon her natural expertise. Once a pre-med student, but fueled by new opportunities and living outside the norm, Gina has followed a creative calling throughout her life. With an interest in graphic design, Gina tinkered with photoshop until she was able to expertly create award-worthy designs. Never shy of hard work and often taking on several jobs to fulfill her creative itch, Gina made her way in an agency environment but craved a different way of expressing herself.
Working as a graphic artist and production director for an art magazine, offered Gina a glimpse into the depths of the “art world” - stoking a creative fire deep within her soul. Grounded in these experiences, Gina gave herself permission to lean into her unexpected talent to create unique and original artwork.
Gina did not immediately arrive at the artistic style that she is known for today. She experimented with various mediums and approaches which eventually resulted in incredible op-art that has garnered attention from local celebrities and national collectors.
Gina is bold, energetic, and courageous - each element of herself shows up in the art she creates. Gina’s adventurous nature runs deep. She is a retired sports bike racer (yep!) and never shies away from a dare-devilish experience. Riding her signature pink bike or jumping out of airplanes, Gina is a self-described "adrenaline junkie" who loves moving at high speeds. Yet there are moments when Gina is able to slow down enough to paint the trim in her house without taping it off or using a drop cloth (that is a serious talent!). The yin and the yang of Gina’s interests influence the way she sees the world and is evident in the uniqueness of her work.
With unmatched precision in her trade, Gina is very in tune with her natural tendencies towards problem-solving. Each meticulous stroke draws you into the details of her work. Gina’s distinctive approach to creating lines of color lead your eye to the variations in the hues and shadows. Some of her paintings include the same color amidst various stripes, tricking your eye into thinking it is two different shades based on the association with the color next to it.
There is no doubt that Gina’s artwork is amazing. Her art pops in more traditional settings, highlighting the strong contrast in style and garnering huge reactions from collectors and viewers. Gina has an uncanny ability to connect single elements of color resulting in stunning pieces of art. Whether it’s the large scale iconic images, straight lines that trick your eye, or the combination of color in an abstract, Gina creates beautiful art that everyone is talking about.
Plus, Gina is just cool! Take a deeper look into our conversation.
How has your work evolved over the past several years?
I’ve spent a lot of time exploring different subject matter over the past two years. I’m quite happy trying my hand at almost any style of painting - abstract, realism, etc. If you look back at my Instagram posts you can follow the rabbit trail of the time I spent exploring things I liked. But my op art evolves on a continual basis because I’m always trying out new compositions and color palettes. You can see this from one collection to the next. I’m getting bolder with my color choices and the compositions are getting more complex.
What is your process for creating?
Each day when I wake up I spend about 15-20 minutes lying in bed thinking about new things I’d like to try and what that might look like. That’s always the first step - visualization. It doesn’t have to be super specific, but just enough to get me excited about it. Then I’ll usually do a quick sketch on paper just to get the idea down so I won’t forget it. Whenever I get some free time during the day I’ll sit down and map everything out on the computer to figure out measurements and color palettes. Putting the brush to canvas is the very last step! New ideas seem to come easily to me in the morning hours and then execution always happens later in the day.
What is one of your biggest successes as an artist? What are you most proud of?
I’d have to say the biggest success is the ability to support my family and to use my art to help support others in need. My husband and I are big believers in giving back to the community, either by giving of your time or giving of your means. It’s been nice to be able to give more of my time and money to relief efforts and charitable causes this year.
What is one of your biggest challenges as an artist?
My biggest challenge has been figuring out how to balance the artistic part of my job with the non-artistic part. I am currently a one-woman show doing it all - painting, framing, marketing, photography, website maintenance, bookkeeping, packing, and shipping. I truly enjoy doing every part of the job, but as you can imagine, I’m looking forward to hiring an assistant to help out next year!
What inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by color. When I see a color combination that makes me happy, I usually take a picture and file it away for later use. I’ve been inspired by fashion, interior design, and even product packaging!
What do you like to do when you are not painting?
When I’m not painting I’m usually thinking about ways to create amazing spaces with art. It’s in my blood!
What is your advice to someone who wants to start creating art for themselves?
Do what comes naturally to you. We all have natural abilities and traits to which we are prone, so use them. My trait is that I love bright color, I love precision, and I have a pretty steady hand (probably from cutting in and painting all my walls and ceilings over the years). Use what comes naturally to you and be proud of it!
Do you collect art? What is a favorite piece that you own?
I am a huge lover of art and have been collecting since my early 30s. As an artist, I think it’s extremely important to be a collector (if funds allow) because it shows that you believe that art holds monetary value. Let’s face it, if you don’t think another person’s art is worth your hard-earned money, how can you expect anyone else to believe that yours is worth it? I love everything I collect, but my favorite at the moment is my most recent acquisition, a gorgeous Mallory Page piece.
If money were no object, I would buy a piece by Wayne Thiebaud. He is hands-down my favorite artist and his paintings convey a sense of happiness and innocence. You cannot look at one of his paintings and be sad. It's impossible! Thiebaud started out as a commercial artist like I did so I relate to his journey in a personal way. All he ever wanted to do was put in a good day’s work and hopefully make someone happy. What more could an artist ask for?