Thoughtfulness and vulnerability are at the forefront in this conversation. Painter Julia Schwadron Marianelli beautifully describes lessons learned during her journey from postpartum anxiety to a more fulfilling sense of community, self-compassion, and groundedness both as an artist and as a mother. Julia was the founder of and director for the Low-Residency MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Sierra Nevada University, and is now on faculty at Lake Tahoe Community College. A past Artist/Mother Network Crit Group Mentor, she is represented by Melhop Gallery º7077 and maintains a robust studio practice.
We begin our conversation discussing how Julia found her creative language in painting as a way to engage as an introvert in a family of musicians and dancers. She shares the profound impact she felt from childhood alongside her grandmother, Ursula, who was a Holocaust survivor and lived life as an art form unto itself.
Julia describes taking a job as a sabbatical replacement at the University of Iowa and how the remarkable thrift stores of the midwest led her to discover inspiration in used self-help books from the 70s. She began incorporating the graphic qualities of the book covers as the base layer of her paintings, with striking titles such as: “Overcoming the Dark Opponents.” Julia has moved on to incorporate more of her own writing in her paintings, and continues to include imagery from her natural environment in a process she describes as a vibration of both looking outward and inward.
After teaching for a time in Thailand, Julia moved to South Lake Tahoe, California where she became a parent. I was so honored for Julia to share with me and the A/M Community very frankly about her experience with postpartum anxiety during and after her first child’s month-long stay in the NICU. Julia turned the thoughtfulness she puts into her work and teaching toward her own transformation as she embraced the value of vulnerability and rethought the meaning of endurance. She has emerged on the other side of mental health challenges and personal mistakes with a wealth of wisdom that is a true gift to our community.
Biggest Art Crush: Robin F. Williams, Julia Curtis, Carolyn Walker, Rosemary Meyer, Joan Mitchell, Jasper Johns, Milton Resnick
Dream Trip: Thailand
Film or book: The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers
Favorite meal: Anything in Thailand
Shout-out: Josh Marianelli and many others!
To see more of Julias’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @julia.schwadron.marianelli.
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn