My name is Julia Pratt, or Jub Kate online. I’m an illustrator based in Geelong wishing I was still in Melbourne, where I grew up. I mostly do digital work and focus a lot on bright colours and dynamic linework. Like most creatives, I find it hard to stick to one thing, so I also dabble in gouache paintings, silversmithing, screenprinting and any passing craft that takes my fancy.
WHEN DID YOU GET STARTED AND WHAT HAS CHANGED FOR YOU SINCE THEN?
I’ve been creating since I was little. My parents are endlessly creative and talented and put a lot of importance on pursuing what you love. They convinced me I was good enough to give this a shot. I was worried about not being creative enough so I studied graphic design just to have a fallback. I’ve found that is really common in illustrators, actually. After uni, I realised I really didn’t feel connected to graphic design and I’ve been working towards an illustration career ever since.
Not much has changed except my skill level. I think I’ve gotten more business savvy maybe. That’s only in theory though, I’ve yet to put it into practice haha.
WHAT THEMES DO YOU PURSUE?
That’s a hard one for me, I don’t find I have many running themes in my art. I enjoy depicting the human form and clothing in dynamic poses, so I focus a lot on characters. I think I’m more interested in creating an interesting composition and playing with shape, perhaps that comes from my design background.
WHY DO YOU PAINT WHAT YOU PAINT?
Most of my paintings are of faces. I really find the form of human faces fascinating and I find joy in developing my skill in painting them. I really like creating characters that aren’t the typical standard of ‘beautiful’ but that are still captivating. I like making androgynous, lumpy, tired-looking people. I think they’re far more substantial and impactful.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ARTWORK?
I’ve always loved ‘Male Nude With Red Sheet’ by Egon Schiele, he was my first contact with depicting the human form, in stretched, gagged linework.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m mainly padding my portfolio with personal projects to apply to illustration agencies. I have a few fun paintings I’ve been procrastinating. I’m doing one piece for a Seashepherd auction which has been a wily one!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JEWELLERY!!
My jewellery! I’ve been trying to resist indulging in it because my main fault as an artist is that I can’t stick to one medium long enough to form a style that I like. But I absolutely love silversmithing. My mode of production is hand carving wax moulds that are then cast in silver and I polish up, so there’s not as much fabrication involved, but it is easier to be more creative with it. I want to learn 3D modelling to get them cast so I can get really specific with my designs. So far I’ve really enjoyed making gross confronting things like a split-tongue ring. It’s an expensive hobby though.
WHAT DO YOU NOT LIKE ABOUT THE ART WORLD?
The snobbery. I detest that at the very upper echelon of fine art there are collectors who buy pieces as investments that then sit under their beds and are never appreciated (an anecdote I’ve heard from another artist). Or that the fine art world looks down on you if you’ve ‘dirtied your hands’ in the illustration world (another anecdote). I feel passionate about the grassroots communities that use art because they have a need to express themselves. Those that hold a battle of the bands in their garages or create posters promoting equality to hand out at marches. I think the type of artwork I find meaningful is used to uplift and enrich the world, not made in hopes that a curator will deem it valuable.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
I really like the idea of murals. I’d love to be commissioned to make a space really colourful and fun to be in.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED?
Actually, a few days ago I found some good advice. ‘Don’t be the one to say no to yourself, let someone else do that. So instead of not going for opportunities because you assume, you aren’t going to get them, go for it and let them be the one that tells you no. Because at some point you’ll be surprised with a yes. Make sure you’re comfortable with rejection though haha.
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOAL?
At the moment, it’s to earn enough money with my art that I can continue my life as it is but be more financially stable. I adore creating every day but I need to develop some savings and hopefully build my own house one day to feel secure.
WHAT TIPS COULD YOU GET EMERGING ARTISTS?
I think it’s that you have to be comfortable with being bad. When you’re starting out you are going to be bad, and you need to just keep working to get better. Art is a skill that takes a lot of work to hone. Also, when you feel jealous of another artist (and you will, a lot) try to consciously turn that jealousy into pride and be happy for them. Say ‘good for you, I’m so happy for you' in your head. It helps a lot to foster a feeling of being a part of the art community rather than feeling like it’s you against all the other artists out there.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS?
None currently but there’s a lovely little exhibition in the works for next March. Keep an eye on my social media accounts.!