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Artist Profile Series: Julie Gautier-Downes

Erika Enomoto

Communications Manager

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Spokane-based artist Julie Gautier-Downes received a 2016 Grants for Artist Project (GAP) award for Dislocated Memories, an installation project that explored her fractured relationship with her childhood home. Born in San Diego, Julie moved to New York City in 2001, an experience which prompted her bi-coastal identity and interest in perceptions of home. Julie reached out to let us know what she’s been up to and kindly answered a few questions we had for her on receiving a GAP award.

How did receiving a GAP award impact your career as an artist?
Receiving a GAP award in 2016 provided funding that helped me gain the momentum to get more shows. As a result, I was able to have more shows in 2017 than ever before. I felt that the recognition that I got from the GAP award gave me the confidence to apply to things and find more opportunities for exhibiting my work.

What did funding from the award allow you to do?
My GAP award funding paid for me to build an 8 x 12 ft. installation, which was the centerpiece for a solo exhibition, titled Dislocated Memories, at the Chase Gallery in the Spokane City Hall last summer. The installation was a recreation of my childhood bedroom, which I inhabited before my parents split up and before the house burned down. The show received excellent reviews with articles in the Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Spokesman-Review.

What advice do you have for artists applying for grants and awards?
I keep a spreadsheet with deadlines for grants, shows, residencies, and other opportunities. It helps me to see the deadlines organized so I can apply when I have downtime. Apply to as many things as you can. If you have questions or need help, reach out to the funder or organization. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to proofread your entries.

What projects are you currently working on?
During recent residencies at the A.I.R. Studio Paducah and the Vermont Studio Center this fall, I created several installations, which occupy smaller footprints than my previous, life-sized works. In these works, I repurposed or assembled dollhouses and toys to create dioramas, which house narratives about violence, trauma, and the fragility of relationships. The dollhouse combines my experience working with found objects and abandoned homes with the symbolic significance of the dollhouse as a starting point for a child’s dreams about marriage and growing up.

Julie’s new works are currently being exhibited in a solo show, Dioramas of Disaster, at E3 Convergence Gallery in Missoula, Montana until January 27. For details, click here.