Artists, do we really need to choose just one field?
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015
By Julie

As a child, I dabbled in a lot of artistic fields. I loved to draw, photograph, dance, sing... basically if it had anything to do with self expression as an artform, I was interested. When I finally got older and got accepted to college, I found myself stuck with a very common dielmma: "What do I want to spend the rest of my life doing?" I decided to be a Fine Art major b/c who was I kidding - I quickly discovered that deep down, I'm a total introvert and just getting up infront of the a capella groups to audition freaked me out; Stage fright = 1, Julie = 0. So, quiet art it was! 

When I graduated from college after taking scultpture classes, figure drawing classes, color design classes, photography classes, etc... I was faced with the next big dillema: "Now that I've chosen a specific field, which focus do I want to pursue?" I started out working for a fashion designer in New York City. I LOVED the design aspect but I quickly learned that the environment of the fashion world just wasn't for me.

Despite my family's objections, I quit and started my own business - Julie Kate Photography. I started out small: created a basic website, discovered the intricate world of marketing, booked a few family portrait sittings here and there... Eventually, my website became more detailed, my portfolio grew, I learned what marketing actually entailed and people began finding me randomly without family or friends' recommendations. Over time, I started offering more intimate kinds of portrait sittings: newborn sittings, boudoir sittings, engagement sittings...I strayed away from big group photos since there wasn't much art in pointing a camera and clicking it a few times. I started taking my Fine Art Print Collection more seriously as well and started selling my photos as art for people's homes. Let's say, it took a lot of trial and error but I finally found my groove. 

About three years ago when I started living in Boulder, Colorado, clients started asking me to design their homes and offices with my art - whether it was my work from their portrait sitting or from my Fine Art Print Collection. I quickly felt that rush again - I remembered how much I truly loved design. I've ignored anything having to do with design since I quit my first job but the creativity, ideas and color schemes all started flowing back to me. The fashion world and design didn't necessarily need to be linked - I could still be creative without having to deal with the politics.

Since the design bug hit me hard, my husband and I decided to take things a bit further - we bought a crappy house that we fully gutted, renovated and turned into a gem. I took on dawing up & designing the entire interior and he took on designing the .75 acres that was in desperate need of some TLC. It was our first big project and it turned out beautifully - an oversized white kitchen with carrera marble countertops, intricate white moldings throughout, a large master suite with a walk in closet the size of a bedroom, a floor to ceiling stone fireplace in the formal living room, a 700 sq ft deck facing south overlooking the equisite gardens and pond...It was my dream home. We ended up deciding to move back to the east coast to be closer to family so unfortunately, we had to put it on the market to see if we'd get any bites. The response from potential buyers was immediate and aggressive - it sold within a week. It was all the validation I needed. We are currently in the process of renovating our new (permanent) home in the Hamptons while anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl in June. We are also starting on a few other real estate projects around here as well as taking on design jobs (small and large) for other people's homes.

I recently changed my business to Julie Kate Photography & Design b/c I decided to allow design back into my life fulltime. Who says you need to stick to one art? If art is in your blood, embrace it - run with it! There is no one way to create a career - especially when it comes to art. Yes, you can be better suited for one area or the other but there are so many ways to weave one artistic form with another. I realized that I had a good eye for design, color, composition, beauty, etc... I use the same vision in photographing a newborn as I do in designing a kitchen. I look at a baby's skintone, hair color as well as eye color and choose blankets and clothing colors based on those. I position a baby in a specific way so that the light aligns its sweet little face perfectly and when I edit, I crop the image so that the positioning of all objects in the photo are most appealing to the viewer. It's the same with the kitchen - color schemes, alignment, symmetry...What I've realized is that there are certain rules that translate into all art forms and that blending a few together doesn't make you less of an artist in one area - instead, it strengthens and expands your abilities.


Images from our past project in Boulder, Colorado. 

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