Julia O'Sullivan - International Welsh Artist
My name is Julia and I grew up in the Swansea valley in Wales. I have spent the last 30 years developing my own style as an artist.
Fun fact: I have just recently found out I have Aphantasia, but not really fun for me as I appear to be missing a fundamental art tool inside my head. It hasn't however stopped me from creating wild and wonderful creations. You might wonder how this is possible to do what I do; well let me try to explain. My mind appears to rely on feelings to create my pieces, my art comes from an emotional place rather than a visual one. I have quite a mathematical mind which helps so I feel depth and proportion of my pieces. I make many sketches before coming up with the final piece, also my first sketches tend to look like a 4 year old has drawn them, which shows how labour intensive it is to draw without the visual tool; I constantly ask myself how to achieve more in each painting. My love for art has far surpassed my disability with it, and yes I think not having this wonder tool in my head has handicapped me in one way, but in another enriched my art in a way that a visual artist can't achieve; as they don't feel the images which I think is a far deeper understanding of oneself. Having said that, I am now taking steps to try and unlock this useful tool as I believe I will be able to do even more incredible work with it; The challenge is on. If anyone has any useful tips on how to do this I would love to hear from you.
For many years in the UK I worked as a Lab Tech testing beer and only painted at weekends. Since moving here to New Zealand to bring up my children my talent has exploded and is now flowing in full force.
I am driven by something I can’t explain, I spend most of my time creatively as I do it purely for the love of it and for the satisfaction of producing some very unusual pieces of art.
There are no real events that have influenced me as such, but the subjects I choose lead me on a journey into my own subconscious. For every piece I design and create I reach a new level of self awareness and understanding. I believe my journey with my art is a spiritual one and is one that is awakening my soul on a very different level to how we live our lives. It is like the deepest form of meditation and therapy to me and it is truly beautiful to experience.
My work is now back in Wales and I am ready to start selling some pieces. The Great Welsh Dragon is on display at Swansea University in Wales.
I immerse myself in each subjects in order to get the full story into the piece. Each one has its own energy and something that can only be felt in the presence of it.
All the pieces on my web site were created over the last 14 years while living in NZ. The culture of the country has not influence the art, it is only my own mind and upbringing in Wales that has shaped each and every one of them. There is nothing political about my pieces, even though I have strong views on the world itself. We each experience this world in our own unique fashion, as such, most of what I have experienced is shaped into a piece of art.
Why did I create the pieces I have? Well each one has its own story for the reason I chose it.
David Bowie excited me as a human being, someone who filled his life creatively and probably for a similar reason for why I do it. That painting allowed me to explore the part of myself that was driven and artistic, it was exciting to channel the energy of Bowie and produce an exciting piece of art.
The Great Welsh Dragon was born out of a feeling of being home sick, I brought Wales to me, the pride I felt creating this piece took me home to my roots mentally. This piece brought forward my deepest level of passion and as such it took me 22 months to produce.
The mental health sculptures were created as a tribute to my Husband, Father and a few close family members who suffer from these diseases. They helped me navigate the mindset of those involved and exorcise some of the deep feelings of sadness that I have carried around regarding the subject.
The Book of Revelations was created out of my fascination with religion in general. I did attend a Catholic school in Wales, but have never actually felt that feeling of God as such. The imagery in the Book of Revelations is beautiful and this piece was one of the most powerful ones I have done to date. It took me to a place in my mind that proved quite hard to navigate. It quite literally sent me a bit mad for a while.
The sculptures range in size, from the Mental Health sculptures that are just a little larger that a human head, to the very large sculptures like The Great Welsh Dragon which is 2.8 metres high.
There is no 'message' with regards the subject in my work, I just bring stories to life in sculptural oil paintings. The message is probably a hidden one of how my mind works rather than the subject itself. Look carefully into how I weave a piece together and it will tell you more about me and my intellect than anything else. The subjects themselves are irrelevant, they are merely a conduit.
Get up close and personal with my paintings here on this web site and immerse yourself in the great detail each one has to offer.
I hope you have enjoyed coming to have a look. Join me on Instagram to keep up to date with my weird and wonderful world. Come and visit me here in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales and take home a glorious piece of artwork.