Monday I had the pleasure to see one of my art idols in person for a talk at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. I was completely star struck the entire time but also learned a lot more about her thought process, plus she included some great advice for young artists like myself. It was wonderfully thought provoking and worth the driving time and late night, even though I had a lab practical bright and early the next day.
Her current work explores a chaotic place that references specific architecture. In her series Mogamma ( which the High just acquired a piece from), she is looking at specific squares that have seen social upheaval and riots and then using buildup and series as a perfect metaphor for the social change of this century. She deals with political and social complexities with out using definitives or pushing her opinions on the viewer. I am drawn in by her mark making and combination of gestural and specific. She builds up mark and leaves erasure or the process of creation. This is important to her because she is "always informed by what comes before."
Here is a list of advice from Julie for young artists:
1. The desire to make comes from a deep place.
2. Artists have a necessity to make.
3. Many young artists want their work to be in the world before it is even made, which does not work. Focus on asking the difficult questions and making the work and then it will be in the word.
4. There is a competition between being career oriented and making art for self- realization. It is important to follow what is important to YOU.
If you desire to learn more about Julie Mehretu ( which you definitely should) here is her Art 21 site which is very informative and interesting,