Juliet Hillbrand's art practice focuses on creating an other-worldly feel. Her works cover chaos and serenity, fever and calm, decay and growth, life and death. Hillbrand was named as a Top Artist of 2019 in DESTIG magazine. Each of her pieces has it's own heartbeat. Some are meant to connect the viewer with something deeply rooted in reality, while other pieces are meant to pull you completely out of this reality.
Hillbrand is versatile and dynamic, exploring different concepts such as landscapes, nature, figurative art, nudes and abstract, so each piece truly is a new experience each time. Sometimes she is throwing color around her studio like confetti; other times, the focus is meditative, and quiet, and still.
"I'm often inspired by one thing that triggers an emotional connection to my past, and a few of my pieces began as dreams that I felt called to paint"
"The most challenging aspect of the process for me is knowing when they are finished. There are pieces that I've worked on for more than five years that still aren't done in my eyes. But I love to listen to their whispers and hear from the muse of inspiration. I follow their lead for where to go next!"
Hillbrand trusts in a theory that the viewer can always tell if you've enjoyed creating something. "Almost like the joy gets trapped in the artwork. Everyone can feel it when love is involved. Whether you're a chef, an artist, a musician. Everyone can sense when love is there, and especially when it isn't."
Energy is one of the essential elements within her art, to move the viewer from the inside out. Certain colors can add more or less energy, with warmer shades like red bringing an almost vibrating-sensation to the canvas. If she wants a piece to be more relaxing, quiet, or almost frozen in time, she will add a stillness through cooler shades such as blue, lavender, gray, and green.
"Sometimes I go too far and throw every color on the canvas, and the energy-language of that piece becomes muddled. In this case, my next steps are about reeling in that chaos like a fishing line, tightening the slack I've given so freely in that state of play. Sometimes you have to go crazy first and then clean up the rough edges to achieve your vision. I believe in throwing paint around and getting messy, that's part of the fun!"
Studying Hillbrand's works almost all of her nature and landscape paintings are very colorful, and nearly all of her female nudes are black and white. "I think the reason I've been so drawn to black and white paired with the feminine-energy is because it incorporates an air of mystery. Color is my reason for being, but there is something so timeless and classic about black and white. Everything looks more frozen in a fleeting moment, less captured in real-time. I think that grayscale can add that hint of ambiguity. You want to know who these women are, and what the monochrome look behind their eye means. Women are innately mysterious creatures, so I think it plays on our ability to be so many different people. Women can be 1,000 different people. We can be anyone, at anytime, we're like chameleons in a way that men can only be directly themselves. I love feeling that shape-shifting ability in life, and especially in art, where that can be dramatized."
"My job as the artist is not to make people see what I want them to see. It's to help them discover something in themselves"
Nothing thrills Hillbrand like hearing everyone's interpretations or her pieces, which are always so distinctive from one another. Most people see something that she never would have noticed in her own artwork. "I consider this to be the joy of art, that it's individual for each of us. No two interpretations can be identical because no two human experiences are identical. When someone buys my artwork or connects to it, that is a statement about how they see themselves and how the artwork connects to their imaginative identity. Art is play at work, it invites your inner child to be free, to be messy, to be you."
A painting is a tangible item that people can hold, hug close, hang up, admire – but in truth, it is merely an external representation of their purest soul. It is not so much a statement about her as the artist, because she is only the medium for that vessel of self-realization. A large majority of her work is abstract, surreal, inspired by the larger unknown universe, and conceptual. "I believe this gives the viewer more room to merge with their own truth and see what they want to see. My goal is to leave the painting open-ended enough that the viewer can mirror their own interpretation and place their own story onto the piece."
Hillbrand's reaction to the current Covid19 crisis is an optimist one. "Things will certainly change. But humans are nothing if not adaptable. I heard a quote from my favorite guru, Elizabeth Gilbert. She said if aliens walked around the planet, it would be old news in 2 weeks! Humans adapt so quickly, even when something seems too far gone to be recovered or normalized again. The world may not look as it did before, but perhaps some things could be better. People hauling all of their artwork to trade shows each weekend may need to optimize their online presence, myself included."
"The internet is the greatest art-sales tool that the world has ever seen. I think people forget how lucky we are and how many opportunities we've been given in the form of these handheld devices. Before the internet, you could only sell art to people that stumbled by your gallery. Now you can sell to the whole world."
Hillbrand is currently working on several exciting projects. One of her ambitions is moving towards murals and selling canvas pieces that are incredibly large. She is also working on a surfboard piece, and writing and illustrating her own children's book.
"This lifetime is about a body of experimentation. I just want to try things, learn constantly, and stay relentlessly curious. In the past, I placed so much pressure on myself. There was a voice telling me to accomplish everything at once; That if it wasn't happening fast enough, it wasn't happening at all. But I've learned to be more patient with myself. Everyone is creative in their own way, and everyone is on their own timeline. Comparing your timeline to someone else's is one of the biggest wastes of your energy.
Release that fear that tells you to be anywhere except for the present moment. The present moment is all we have. It's all that is real. I hope you can learn to love the process and not make my past mistake of wishing to be somewhere else (in your career, in love, in life, wherever). Those wishes are only fantasies, and the future will never look like you imagined it. Let go of the self-inflicted pressure and realize that this moment, right here and right now - is perfect."