OPTIMIST / MULTI-DISCIPLINARY / IMPATIENCE / SOCIAL JUSTICE / EXHIBITIONS
Julita Hanlon is a 4th Year Painting and Printmaking student studying at GSA. Hear from Julita as she discusses structures of prejudice and challenging the canon through art.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you're based.
I am a ‘she/her’ being somewhat stretched between my Polish and Scottish homelands, a mother of a lively bunch of strappy boys (and grandmother to one), an aspiring artist and an eternal optimist. I believe that all should be equal and that judgement should be only dished out if you walked in the other person’s shoes.
What do you make & how do you make it?
I make art. I translate my social convictions and upsets with the events that make despicable social injustice and prejudice visible into works that aim to invite reflection, that should be seen and understood within the context of viewers own histories.
My practice is multi-disciplinary and might at any time include painting, printing, stitching, sculptural and metal works, writing, etc. For me, materials and processes are as important a part of the research into the subject as any academic/theoretical understanding of the concept, and in particular processes that might force a prolonged involvement with the subject or material are the ones that I seem to be drawn to. I am currently exploring the ways in which status quo is guarded through visible symbols of bureaucracy and by dehumanising decision-making processes and, like all my projects before, that led me to research visual language that includes photography, stamp making, screen printing, deep etching, embroidery, sculptural works, and writing.
My current heroes are Franz Kafka and Felix Gonzales-Torres – their way of conceptualising complex political critique in seemingly simple and minimal language and images is mindboggling.
What has been your biggest challenge to navigate?
Housework, cooking and the washing machine. Impatience. Lack of headspace and considerable self-doubt. The lockdown deprived me of the one thing that I wanted from the GSA – daily access to likeminded people, fleeting conversations that confirm that I am an artist through and through, and that my views matter.
How do you think your practice sits in today's context?
I am an artist with a very strong personal response to social issues, absolute disgust for right-wing politics and a woman balancing the strong drive to do best by my family with the ambition and desire to make it big in the artworld. These are themes reflected in my work and now, more than ever, relevant. In my art I want to expose the invisible forces and rhetoric that attempts to justify prejudice, discourage social action and build a wall, a divide between one individual and the other. I am not trying to invent a wheel or challenge canons, I am trying to challenge intolerance and bigotry and show that art always has a voice and a role in shaping the society that we want around us, in presenting a better, even if utopian, possibility of being, of taking responsibility for our own, individual actions.
What's next on your practice-agenda? Goals, projects or any upcoming shows perhaps?
A list of my art-related dreams, hopes, plans:
Graduating. Two exhibitions with my lovely pals Anuschka Barlas and Susan Torrence in June/July. Convincing the world that it needs a physical showcase from class 2020 and 2021. In pipeline, a possible collaborative show in November – so watch this space. Residency (with Anuschka Barlas) in Edinburgh. Joining Glasgow Print Studios and learning more about printing techniques. Research. Making work. Keeping visible. Masters in a year’s time. Going to exhibitions as soon as possible. Who knows what the future will bring?
Favourite studio food?
That’s easy –humous and cheese sourdough roll followed by blueberries, Borders Dark Chocolate Gingers and a chai tea.
Something interesting you have seen this week?
A couple of Diana Al-Hadid talks on youtube - ART PAPERS LIVE: Diana Al-Hadid on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmHhrW37RVk and Creating a Spatial and Psychological Terrain: Artist Diana Al-Hadid - Presented October 22, 2011 at the Nasher Sculpture Center. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXKKXA-k0lo
Also, a feel-good movie – ‘Blinded by the Light’. A take on a struggle for the right to forge your own identity and follow your own dreams shown within the context of social obstacles, prejudice, cultural conditioning, and family expectations. If you like Bruce Springsteen – that’s an added bonus.
Final words of advice for your peers?
Keep making, have fun, do not let anyone bring you down and always see the world through rose-tinted glasses.