Julie Freund was born in upstate New York. She attended Bridgewater College in central Virginia, where she majored in the Fine Arts, before transferring to the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall of 2010.
A graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design, class of 2013, Julie graduated with a B.F.A in Painting and double minored in Equestrian Studies and Art History. As an artist, Julie likes to explore the use of bright colors and unique perspective to capture the many different dynamics of the horse. When she’s is not painting horses Julie also specializes in pet portraiture and organic forms.
Currently, Julie is living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She spends her time between riding at Endeavor Farm in Wales, creating art as a freelance artist, and preparing for the arrival of her first child this fall.
Hi Julie! Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you begin doing art and how did you get started? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Julie: I grew up in upstate New York, about 90 minutes outside the city, in Westtown New York. One of my first memories is of drawing and painting horses, even before I started riding. I always had an interest in the arts from a young age and had a childhood obsession with horses. I think even back then I knew I wanted to be an artist and horses were my subject.
Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter etc.
Julie: I typically work on canvas with oils. I enjoy oil paints because of the extended drying time and the ability to blend the paint. In the past few years I have also enjoyed working with watercolors on paper but it’s a challenge for me to use that medium.
I love the use of colors and using them in an interesting way. I would say I am influenced by pop art and high contrast of colors.
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Julie: I have a home studio. Typically I start my work by catching up on the news, listening to podcasts, and eventually, I will put some music on. I work for a few hours at a time, taking breaks to get water, walk the dog, etc.
What artists influenced you the most and why?
Julie: Geroge Stubbs and his anatomy of the horse are very useful for understanding the structure and conformation of the horse. I love his painting, Whistlejacket, and actually did a replica of it in college. I love that particular painting because of its sole focus on the horse on a non-descript background, there is nothing else to focus on but the details of the horse and its form.
I also look at my contemporaries for inspiration. The use of social media and image sharing in an instant is great daily motivation. Living in Milwaukee there is a great art community and atmosphere.
You’ve said you explore the use of bright colors and unique perspective to capture the many different dynamics of the horse. What first attracted you to the horse as an artistic subject? And have any other animals captured your attention quite like horses?
Julie: I was first drawn to horse very young, I am not sure why exactly but I was always obsessed with them as a kid. I was drawing them long before I started riding. I took my first riding lessons when I was 8 years old and was 10 when I got my first horse.
I had some childhood trauma and horses were my outlet and kept me focused. Horses gave me a sense of responsibility growing up when my life got chaotic. I learned a lot of life lessons both on the horse and around the barn.
In the past few years, I have been painting dogs quite a bit. Just like horses they have their own unique personalities.
For my own enjoyment, I also like painting flowers. The break from the detailed, preciseness of painting animals is nice to change to an organic form. Of course, I always choose a bright flower to paint when I do get the opportunity to do so.
How do you capture the horses’ personalities in your works?
Julie: Every horse has its own unique personality, just like people.
When I am working on a piece I often ask for a few reference photos of the animal to work from. It’s most helpful if the owner tells me a little bit about their horse; their personality traits, any quirks or habits. Most owners will choose a photo that they feel best represents their horse’s personalities on their own; a face they make or the way the animal stands.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Julie: I have had people cry when they see their finished painting. Sometimes people have paintings done of their animals that have passed away and having an original work of art that captures the essence of the animal can be emotional.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Julie: I can best be reached via my artist email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about (or canceled due to the Covid-19 situation)?
Julie: I do not have any upcoming exhibitions planned but I am entering my pieces into serval juried shows and poster competitions.
What’s next on the horizon for Julie?
Julie: Since the pandemic, I have been taking some time to be at home. My husband and I are expecting our first child in September so I am taking this summer focus on my health and my art.