It’s All About the Feeling: A Conversation with Julia Hariri A Conversation with Julia Hariri

Sharing the impassioned artist’s musings on art, life and the beauty of imagination

Sharing the impassioned artist’s musings on art, life and the beauty of imagination

Born and based in Germany, Julia Hariri sees the beauty in the finest of details—from the texture of an old wooden door to the contours of the female face. This “fetish” for specificities, as she fondly calls it, forms the basis for her works of art.

Creating intricate line drawings and motifs that merge graphics with watercolours, Julia is an artist of many talents. Learn more about her creative processes, her life as a whole, and how these are shaped by her lust for learning and intuitive mind.

Following her imagination

Julia Hariri’s wide portfolio of designs is based on two central themes: portraits of women in her Linework Collection, and celestial objects in her Moon Collection. What these two series have in common is, in her own words, their potential to “push people’s imagination”. How she achieves this? By honing in on facial expressions in her linework and playing with textures and details in her planetary prints. In this way, Julia encourages us to see people and patterns as she does—from an unusually perceptive and observant perspective. A prime example of this would be her eye-catching print ‘Noticed’. Placing a single, arresting eye at the head of a coquettishly-posing woman’s body, she draws our gaze to “that person who first catches your eye in a crowd...while all the other people remain unnoticed”.

Through her Linework Collection, Julia urges us to perceive things beyond their surface meaning—something which most likely stems from her very own way of thinking. As a young child, she was already busy looking beyond the present moment, using the medium of drawing to express and channel her dreams for the future: “I was crazy about animals and wanted to become a zookeeper, so I drew a lot of animals like horses, dolphins and rabbits”. And the young fledgling’s creative development didn’t stop there; as her career aspirations changed over time, she broadened her artistic pursuits accordingly. From around the age of 11, in the hope of becoming a fashion designer, Julia began drawing people and designing clothes for them—the seeds of ambition that would later blossom into an evocative collection of line drawings.

Expressing and eliciting emotions

What makes Julia’s linework so special is its ability to convey deep human feelings with the simplest of lines. From ‘Curious Girl’ to ‘Boredom’, these are emotions that we can all relate to. Her secret? Rather than having a predefined agenda, the gifted designer draws intuitively, following her own states of mind: “Often I just draw things off the top of my head, reflecting a certain mood that’s inside of me”. Interestingly, even naming her prints has an emotional element to it: “I heard that some parents who don’t know how to name their child, immediately know what to call their baby when it’s born. I feel like it’s the same with me and my artworks; I look at them and I just know”. ‘Poppy’, ‘Sophie’, ‘Layla’, ‘Carmen’...Just like a newborn baby, each piece has its own temperament and personality.

According to Julia, it was during her formative years as a fashion design student that she really learned to transform her thoughts, ideas and feelings into something visual, something concrete. Equally inspiring was her time interning at a print-design studio in London. Alongside fellow creatives, her work consisted of “listening to music and drawing the whole day, with cats walking over our prints, dogs running through the studio, and the train rails above our head creating an earthquake every half-hour”. The fondness and sentiment with which Julia describes this experience are a mirror of the heartfelt emotions she channels into each and every work of art she creates.

My time working in London felt like a movie.
The studio was a beautiful mess.

Bursting with passion and curiosity

While interning in London, the aspiring artist “learned to love” the technique of digital editing, a skill which would form the basis of some of her future artworks: her Moon Collection. In this series, Julia first paints experimentally with watercolour paints before refining her creations on a computer. She describes the whole process with great enthusiasm—while she loves how the random flow of the watercolours “surprises” her every time, she also enjoys the relative meticulousness of her self-editing: “For me, the digital side has the same fun factor as painting by hand”. The end result? Motifs of planets and other astronomical bodies, such as ‘Constellation Pink’ and ‘Supernova’, that radiate Julia’s flair for merging different colours, textures and techniques.

Many of the colours and textures that feature in the Moon Collection, the artist explains, are inspired by what she sees when wandering around outdoors: “When I’m walking through nature and the city, even the most trivial things catch my eye. I take pictures of walls, wood, different grounds, leaves...everything that touches me with its beauty in colour and texture”. While on her meanderings, Julia has also become attuned to observing patterns in urban culture and society. In London, for example, she lived in the style of a real flâneur, exploring all the “different cultures, the shops, the food…” that inhabit the British metropolis. She particularly loved the fact that she could “visit India, Africa or China, all in one day”. Inspired by this diversity, Julia chose multiculturalism as the focus of her bachelor degree collection, and she hopes to deepen her cultural understanding further someday by taking a year out to travel the world and make art.

I’m a firm believer in the saying that if you really want it and you work hard, you can achieve anything.

Aside from globetrotting, Julia’s future plans also include launching an independent project to incorporate her art into her own fashion designs in some way. And in the meantime, she’ll carry on keeping herself busy as an agency fashion designer by day, and an independent freelance artist by night. Interestingly, it’s when organising her independent commissions, packing orders and designing new artworks that Julia is most in her element: “As creating is my biggest hobby, this part of the day rarely feels like work”. Art evidently isn’t just a day job for Julia; it plays a significant role in her personal life. And this is what makes her work so special—it comes from the heart, and her natural flair never fails to shine through.

Imagination, emotion and passion—these qualities unite both Julia’s moon prints and her line drawings. Yet the impact of each design remains one-of-a-kind. Take a look at her collection at JUNIQE, and find the prints that speak to you.

Text: Lucy Woods