Julia Holt – Featured Artist of the Month

Written by Caryl Beach

On January 1, 2017

Julia Holt. Mandalla on paper, ink, pen and pastel. 2016








Julia is a Fellow at The Forge Studios Digswell.

Q/ How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?

JH/ I work by engaging in my natural surroundings, reading poetry and biblical philosophy and expressing all of my own experiences. I use ink to create a natural pattern and then enhance the images that emerge from this process, depicting delicate shapes that are always present within these patterns. The images tend to reflect experiences and key moments within my past and are imbued with a deep and expressive spirituality.

Q/ What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc)?

JH/ After exhibiting my work of the past year through the month of September at the Radlett Centre, Herts I am taking time to be in my studio in order to develop a new suite of work.
I am working on Mandallas and creating different patterns and symbols towards workshops that I am doing next year at JW3 in Finchley Road. Mandallas are a circular drawing wherein the artist can use symbols and patterns to depict their world or the universe.
I am also working towards a joint exhibition in The Upstairs Gallery, Berkhamsted in June 2017.

Q/ What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?

JH/ The question I get asked most about my work is what materials have you used? or How did you get that effect? I try to always answer honestly and describe my method but I also like to maintain a sense of mystery about the work!

Q/ What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?

JH/ I love going to art exhibitions and when I was bringing up my young family I would always feel quite desperate to visit London and take myself to a gallery. I then decided to do art classes and painting soon became my passion. From there I threw myself into a foundation course at Oaklands College, Herts and then onto a Fine Arts Degree at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

Q/ Which artist do you most admire and why?

JH/ There are many artist that I admire and feel inspired by, from the colour, line and form of a Cezanne to the scorched earth surface of an Anselm Kiefer. However, the photographer Edward Burtynsky has always held a special fascination for me as he photographs the evidence of man, capturing on a grand scale how human beings can devastate a landscape, and yet his images are completely non judgemental.
I think the honesty and the magnitude of the work strikes a chord with me both mentally and emotionally.

Q/ How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?

JH/ My relationship with Digswell Arts Trust has greatly strengthened my practice over the past year as I have been able to continue a dialogue with other artist and always have
my studio to pursue a certain line of thought or painting. Being part of a community is a benefit to any serious artist as being an artist is a solitary task by its very nature and having a chat  and a cup of tea with other fellows is worth much more than one might originally recognise. There is always something going on, for example our open studio in the summer, a Christmas sale at the Forge and the a further sale at Letchworth.
I have throughly enjoyed it so far and hope to go on doing so through the rest of my time at Digswell.



Julia Holt. Transformation, ink, acrylic, pigment, graphite and pastel on paper. 2016








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