Presenting the Glitter Divo, Julien Isaacs
I sat down with emerging artist Julien Isaacs for a conversation about iconography and the virtues of American vs. Chinese bedazzles.
Sarah: What is it you’re trying to capture as an artist?
Julien: Honestly, there is nothing more beautiful than light, do you agree? But it isn’t really light – it’s the movement of light.
I discovered when I was in China, the sensation of moving light is what I want to capture in my art. I asked myself, “How can I do that?” First I bought these bedazzles in China. They were stickers, so I would take a line of dazzles off and put them on line by line – I did the Keith Haring baby - all in bedazzles. The problem was it was really hard to get it perfect. It was really difficult to get the uniformity of light. Also, they would fall off. So its like, okay Chinese bedazzles – ugh.
So I tried to get bedazzles off Amazon and what happens? It [sticking on individual bedazzles] literally took me three days to do this big-ass fortune cookie and million tears and like a little bit of blood.
So – Chinese bedazzles – too cheap. American bedazzles, too time consuming. Then, I found glitter. When I say glitter – everyone is like, whatever. But actually, glitter is the most effective way to capture light. Now I’m just really exploring glitter.
Sarah: Do you consider yourself a pop artist?
Julien: Ultimately pop – its popular, it resonates with everyone. So in that aspect, I am not a pop artist but I aspire to be a pop artist. I’m really trying to discover, “what’s my place as an artist?” I think this [glitter] is unique. Not a lot of people are working with glitter. It’s poppy while still being sophisticated. Because the thing about pop – it can get really cheap really fast
I’m really into icons – I did a Kanye, a Jay-Z, a Lupe, a Billie Holiday
I didn’t just stumble upon iconicity – it was a long process. I started doing animals. Thinking about what really resonates with humanity. What resonates are people we associate with society that have some sort of elevation. And what I do to them elevates them even higher
Sarah: Crystallizing them literally and figuratively?
Julien: Exactly. Literal and figurative crystallization of people we as a society celebrate. That’s what I’m trying to do right now. It isn’t necessarily commentary, not necessarily criticism. It’s out of reverence. To put something in light is reverence
Sarah: Your work used to be primarily oil painting of animals. Now you’ve shifted from oil animals to glitter icons – do you feel nostalgic for your old medium?
Julien: Oil painting is great because you can get rich realism, but I don’t miss it at all because oil painting is such a laborious process. It’s an ancient art that doesn’t really fit in with my modern societal flow. Honestly because painting you need all day and no distractions. Modern media doesn’t allow that – we are constantly pulled into this world.
I live in modern times. What I want is a modern medium and a modern message using modern icons. I really want to do Nicki Minaj, Erykah Badu, I want to do Obama, I have so many things I want to do.
Julien discovered his love of glitter while living in DC from 2008-2012 and is currently a grad student at The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago majoring in glitter (lol, duh.) Check out more of Julien’s work and commission your own fabulous glitter print here: http://www.glitterdivo.com/
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