Julie Maurin

Artist Interview

February 24, 2021
Julie Maurin currently lives and works between London and the south of France. Her practice oscillates between photography and sculpture. The toxicity of the materials that she uses, alongside their synthetic aspect, stands side by side to dead organisms to evoke our ambivalent relationship towards the environment we inhabit. She owns a master degree in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art and a bachelor degree from Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon (France).

Hello Julie, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Hello! I’m born in Marseille (France), I’m 27 yo and I live between London and the south of France. I first studied textile at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Lyon) and then I did two master degrees — one in Accessories at La Cambre (Brussels) and another one in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (London). I’m a pretty shy person, and kind of a lone wolf.

How would you describe your work to someone new?

My work is a mix of synthetic and organic materials. It has been influenced by the natural environment I grew up into but also by the gloomy atmosphere of these years living in an urban environment. I’m deeply interested about our ambivalent relationship with nature, especially animals.

You have backgrounds in textile and accessories design, how do these experiences inform your work?

I believe that those years helped me to be more meticulous and to really take care of details. I learnt to mess around with colors a lot. I also experimented with various medias and got my hands on Photoshop which I come back to a lot these days. My studies in textile were pattern-design oriented and in Accessories I mainly studied jewelry. I still use all these techniques in my work, but in a more experimental way.

You experiment with unconventional materials such as found objects, dried animals, and plants. How do you choose the materials for your work? What prompted you to experiment with dried organisms?

I like to pick-up waste and natural elements wether it is near the beach or in a junk-yard. I believe that it’s all coming from an episode when I was 12, during one of the hottest summer nights in the south of France, there was this huge fire and we had to evacuate our house. When we came back, nature was completely burnt and hundreds of animals had died. I guess that’s how I see my sculptures: cooked to death.

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You mentioned your work often depicts trauma and repressed memories. Can you tell us more about this aspect of your work?

I’m very much in my head most of the time. I would say that art is cathartic for me. It helps me to process some emotions I wouldn’t be able to process otherwise. I am not the type of person to talk much about my problems, to talk much at all actually. This is my way of getting out stuff that I don’t feel like keeping within myself anymore.

What draws you to creating site-specific work for unconventional spaces - such as nature, urban structures, and public toilets?

I was searching for a place to display my work for my diploma. Because of the pandemic, we couldn’t exhibit at school so I had to think of an alternative, and I ended up using public bathrooms which were easy to access, but I didn’t have any authorizations so I took a few pictures of my work and left as quickly as possible, and it was a lot of fun! Also I think it’s interesting to touch people in random places like this, far from the traditional exhibition spaces.

What is your process like? Can you walk us through some of it?

I start looking for inspiration, online most of the time, or in a book or a movie. Sometimes I end up doing a mood board of stuff like images or writings or objects that I’ve collected through my researches. Then I usually write a little storyline, as if I was planning on making a movie, and then I start working. I don’t like to draw sketches beforehand, I just go with it.

What draws you to making ephemeral work? How does disposing or leaving behind the remnants of your work when an exhibition end affect you emotionally?

I like the idea of making things that will eventually be lost or destroyed, it helps me not to overthink everything.

Are there new ideas or techniques you are interested in exploring next?

I started cutting through expanding foam and it’s really satisfying!

Have you seen anything inspiring recently that you'd like to share?

The biopic about Yung Lean called « In My Head ». Yung Lean is a big inspiration for me, both through his music and his story, how he fought against his inner demons.

Do you have any bad habits? How do they affect you?

I smoke a lot of cigarettes when I’m working…

For more of Julie: juliemaurin.com | @me7usa

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