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Artist Profile Series: Julie Alpert

Carolyn Spencer

Content Contributor

Julie Alpert, Look-alikes, 10 x 6 x 10’, 2014. Photo: David Wentworth.

A frequent museumgoer inspired by fiction, thrillers, and high school memories of performing in plays, Julie Alpert creates artwork that resurrects the emotion and grandeur of the stage.

With her 2017 Fellowship, Julie developed, shipped, and travelled to install a two-person show at Bridge Productions in December 2017. Funding from the Fellowship will also support the creation of a solo show at the Roswell Museum and Art Center opening in March.

We spoke with Julie about her artistic inspiration, her current endeavors, and her learnings and recommendations for fellow artists.

Why do you do what you do?
I make immersive temporary site-specific installations using craft paper, cardboard, modified found objects, and drawing. Components are either attached to the wall, leaning against it, or suspended for the ceiling. They are usually flat shapes arranged in space to create a sense of depth, much like a theater set.

I make this work to help me find my way through fairly universal feelings of grief, loss, and confusion. Because they are difficult feelings, I try to embed them within a colorful, mysterious, and humorous situation.

Could you tell us more about your upcoming show?
It is the culminating show for my year at Roswell Artist in Residence Program. It will include installation, drawings, and small sculptures. I’m excited about this show because it’s a departure from my previous work. I recently began making 10-foot paper weavings [that] I’m calling paper tapestries. Each time I make one I discover a new method, color combination, or way to lay out the sections. My work hasn’t opened up like this in a few years, so it’s exciting to be on the precipice of something new.

I hope that visitors can experience my installations on multiple levels, both as a three-dimensional collage and as a loose nostalgic narrative with hidden moments of humor and oddity.

Do you have advice for artists considering applying for a fellowship?
I suggest applying for at least 25 artist calls a year. This will put you in the practice of writing about (and re-writing about) your work. It will help you synthesize your thoughts until they are very direct and focused. Of course, having a strong portfolio of your best work is also very important. Find a friend who’s been on juries and have them look at your application. The jury changes every year and with it so do the aesthetics and perspectives. Don’t give up!

To learn more about Julie’s work and current projects, visit her website.

Carolyn Spencer is a supporter of the arts, and encourages others to pursue their passion. She is a Content Contributor at Artist Trust.