Julie Morin is a freelance painter from France who is now based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. After graduating from a Business School and working a few years in Marketing, she got sick and had to stop working for a few years. This event helped her to rethink her priorities and realize that being an artist was the only thing that mattered to her. She is now undergoing a big life change, from Marketer expert to freelance artist with big dreams and ambitions.
Today her oil paintings embody strong and powerful female figures portrayed in dreamy and fantastical surroundings, with a connection to nature that she finds very important. Julie also uses acrylic colors on her abstracts to showcase vibrant artworks with bright and flashy colors.
Let’s dive in at the beginning of your story. Tell me about where you grew up and what your childhood was like.
I was born in Paris but grew up in the South of France on the French Riviera. When I was in high school I literally spent my afternoons after class at the beach, so it wasn’t bad at all! I grew up with a sister and two loving parents. I had everything I could dream of. I took my first painting class when I was 4 years old, and also practiced Ballet and the piano for 8 years. Everything was perfect, until the day I lost my little sister to a drunk driver on new year’s eve. That day my world collapsed, and it took me years to accept the fact that she was gone. When it happened, I was barely an adult, and I had to run away to still enjoy my youth and put this aside as it was too painful to deal with. I entered a Business School, forgot about art for a lot of years and traveled the world for my studies.
Describe your path to becoming an artist.
The Business School I attended wasn’t the best part of my life. I met wonderful people there, who are still my dear friends, but for the rest, I was bored and felt like I didn’t belong there. Nevertheless, I did not listen to my feelings and started working in Marketing in big multinational companies, selling products that I did not believe in. I guess I pushed my body too far for too long because one day I fell ill and had to stop all activity. They diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. I was stuck at home, incapable of doing anything, and suddenly I felt this huge creativity imploding inside of me that needed to get out. So I took a paintbrush and started painting, exactly 10 months ago.
Can you talk about your formative years as an artist?
I only became an artist very recently. I didn’t attend any art school, just taught myself with tutorials online and a lot of practice.
What motivates you as an artist?
The motivation I have for painting is the many rewards it gives me. I feel so many emotions during the whole process, and it’s always a new challenge. I have all these colors and possibilities in my head and it’s like a game to put them on my canvas.
Was creativity a part of your childhood?
Always, yes. I remember that I couldn’t wait for my art classes - we only had 1 hour per week. They were my favorite. I also won a poem contest when I was 9 and I always loved photography.
Did you have any mentors along the way?
No, not really. Nobody in my family or friends is in fine arts. I’m quite a “help yourself” type of girl, always teaching myself and watching/reading plenty of information on subjects I find interesting.
Why are you so passionate about the portrait?
Now that you say it, it’s true that I meanly do portraits, interesting! I guess I’m attracted to strong personalities and to me a face can say a million things. I see people’s souls in their eyes, their expression, their smile…
Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?
My partner has been extremely supportive since day 1. I’m so thankful that he is there to help me and support me. My family on the other hand… well, it’s a bit complicated, because they financed my first education and now I am telling them that I am taking a very different path. But I know that they will always approve my decisions in the end.
What advice would you give to a person starting out?
Well, I am kind of starting out myself! But I would say, don’t follow the rules too much. Art is about your own expression, and if for you drawing a circle means representing a square, then go for it. As long as you speak the truth in your art, there is no wrong.
Are you creatively satisfied?
Yes, very. I can only paint 1 hour a day because of my disability, but I use the rest of the time to make new projects. My head is constantly filled with new possibilities and colors. Sometimes, I even wake up at night because so many ideas are rushing in my head, and I can’t sleep until there are all down on paper!
What is your favorite genre of music to listen to while painting?
At the beginning I was listening to Ludovico Einaudi a lot, it was so soothing and helped increase my creativity at lot. Now I can listen to various artists, from Mumford & Sons to Jain, or even simply sounds of nature which I find very relaxing.
Do you have a favorite book?
Yes. I am a fan of heroic fantasy and my favorite books are from French writer Pierre Botero “La Quete d’Ewilan”. They have guided me through all these years. They helped me understand the world and have a more positive approach to it. One of the main characters in these books is a very strong and independent woman, with noble values and a deep connection to nature. There is a bit of her character in all my paintings.
Close up shot of ‘Flamingo Rise"
Who is your role model?
I am inspired by a lot of different people, I like to have eclectic taste, it always feeds creativity and difference. I loved Enki Bilal when I was growing up (I guess it was my nonconformist side then). A little bit later I discovered the works of Kandinsky and Klimt. As a modern artist, I love Charmaine Olivia (my work is very inspired by her) and Brittany Lee Howard whose abstracts truly impress me.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Don’t give up.
What is your dream project?
I would love to have my own studio, where I could paint all day and do some photo work as well. I would also love to help the homeless people, a project that could be called “Art for a roof”. You would buy a piece of art for your home and at the same time, a part of the earnings would go to a charity which allows homeless people to eat and sleep for a while. How beautiful would that be? It’s something very dear to my heart, and I don’t know if it will ever go from project to reality, but I keep hoping that someday it will.