Julio is obsessed with the idea of beauty as portrayed in his graphite depictions of classic movie scenes and starlets from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Being a very particular artist, Julio’s oeuvre resides in the realm of mechanical pencil on Bristol, intimately sized at 11″ x 14″, the underlying subject matter always beauty. Julio champions strong female figures. Like any artist his dream is to share his work. And like any artist his drawings are his babies. And he likes to be surrounded by his babies. His rendering ability borders on savant level, he methodically applies his patterns and marks in the lights and dark of his subject without a single misstep. There is no sketching beforehand and no erasing during. The delicate silver lines and the shapes and patterns within are reminiscent of the pix-elated images and pulp paper portraits of Chuck Close.
Julio has only been with us since December of 2015, but his contribution to the program and in turn the impact our program has had on Julio have been truly transformation, for all of us. When Julio toured the program he was looking for a program that would help him get his “work out there.” Like any artist his dream is to share his work. He had an extensive body of work already (graphite drawings), detailed portraits of actresses from what he calls the “Golden Age of Hollywood” (Bette Davis being his subject of choice) as well as scenes from classic films. His work is amazing. His rendering ability borders on savant level, he methodically applies his patterns and marks in the lights and darks of his subject without a single misstep. There is no sketching beforehand and no erasing during.
What he found at HOPE was a home, a tribe of fellow artists (staff and students alike) who understand his personal struggles and champion his work. Julio asks the Director of Visual Arts, almost daily about opportunities to show his work, he is a fierce and persistent advocate for his own work. Because of his persistence he was given his own studio space, something he has never had before, not even at home. It took him several weeks before he really started to live into the space. He asked his teacher if he could hang some work in his studio space, to which she replied “of course, it is your space, you can do anything you want with it.” With a studio space he has been given a new platform from which to discuss his work and the sense of accomplishment, ownership and pride that comes along with that. Staff love to tour visitors through Julio’s studio and he loves it too. He relishes the opportunity to talk about his work. Julio is gaining a wealth of practical professional experiences, learning to title his pieces, write an artist statement and gain exposure through exhibiting his work. Julio’s instructors at HOPE all have their MFA’s and are practicing visual artists themselves. Staff is exposing Julio and his work to arts professionals like Paige Wery the owner of The Good Luck Gallery in Los Angeles which specializes in Outsider Art. The opportunities for Julio are endless and have only just begun.
Julio also serves as an inspiration to his fellow artists/students who marvel at his work. Some of them say “oh, I can’t draw” to which staff quickly replies, “anyone can draw and we’ll show you how!” Julio is a delight both as an artist and a human being, and at HOPE he has found acceptance both artistically and personally. He has found so many outlets for expression, including dance and drama as well as socially, finding friendship along the way. And at HOPE he laughs, he laughs a lot because he can be himself, quirky and silly and oh so talented