Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Benbassat.
Julie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in Kunming, China and adopted around 7 months old by a Jewish couple who were both in their 50s. My childhood was filled with small insecurities about my parents; with how we looked different, to the fact that I knew that they wouldn’t be around as long as other guardians. In spite of all these little anxieties of mine, I was raised with the patience and wisdom brought on by 50 years of experience on this world, so my young life was filled with encouragement of my artistic interests, support of my love to read, and tentative walks and talks about the natural world.
One of the most iconic parts of my childhood was reading children’s books and watching cartoons with my parents. While my parents couldn’t do a lot of physically demanding things with me, we could always spend hours exploring illustrations, watching engaging characters, and eating good food over hearty book discussions.
It was thanks to all this personal time I had nurturing my love for books, comics and cartoons that I decided to forge my own artistic path, which I continue to pursue as a senior at the Rhode Island School of Design as an illustration major. I’d like to think my inspirations come from a mix of places, from the oaks and maples of my father-daughter walks, the Jewish folk art decorating my Hebrew school books, to the Chinese imagery that I’m still learning about today.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My illustrations take the form of either sketchbook exploration or detailed traditional-digital combination. My sketchbook work allows me to play around with different traditions mediums and ideas on the expanse of a page spread, while my traditional-digital amalgamations allow for more tight, graphic work that allow for clean editing.
My traditional mediums can vary but I find pen, pencil and gouache the most engaging as of late in expressing my many moods (though I’ve been feeling watercolor too). My digital go to is the iPad Pro, since it’s UIX is engaging and easy to use for someone as behind on technology as me haha. Once I scan a traditional sketch in, I go right into color and small edits.
I touched a little on it before, but I find my inspiration comes from the trail mix that is my life growing up as an adopted kid with elderly Jewish parents. I have this weird sense of not belonging to one single thing, which has allowed me to take from multiple sources of inspiration, i.e., Jewish and Chinese folk art, the aesthetics of mythological storytelling, the natural world, cartoons, and comics.
When people see my work, I hope they can feel a sense of lore and an appreciation of the familiarly unknown. I wish for my visual translations to build upon foundations of old stories, the natural phenomena around us, and the joy of art making itself.
The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Your time you put into a medium outweighs the price tag/ prestige. To clarify, your supplies or artistic mediums rely on your basic understanding and experience, not necessarily the price you pay. You can pay a lot for the best quality brushes and oils but if you don’t know how to use oils or lack understanding in color then you will not use that medium to its potential nor will your work be enhanced. I suggest before buying the best brands of any 2D art medium, you practice with the supplies you have or can attain at a reasonable price. Before going to oils for example, try out a small acrylic gouache packet of 5 colors which is crazy less expensive and can teach you a lot on mixing and applying colors. Similarly, you can make beautiful work with just a cheap pencil, imagination, and a drive to improve. Making a good image shouldn’t have to slaughter your wallet.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I have a website at j-bass.com and I’m pretty active on both Instagram and Behance, where you can find finished work as well as my plethora of sketches. I go under the nickname JBASS because (1) it is easier to spell out and (2) its just really grown on me over the years.
I find the best support comes from reaching out, via social media or by email at JBASS.ILLUS@gmail.com. Whether it just be a message, commission, wanting a litho print, or illustration job, I always love interacting with new people.
- Website: https://www.j-bass.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tea_for_jbass
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Art_of_JBASS
- Other: https://www.behance.net/Art-of-JBASS
Image (2) PLANSPONSOR, AD SooJin Buzelli