Artist and designer Julie Verhoeven, a respected force in fashion and design, has worked as a designer, illustrator, creative director, artist and tutor. Verhoeven was a design assistant to John Galliano and Martine Stibon, then lead designer to Gibo, also collaborating with fashion houses Louis Vuitton and Versace amongst many others. The dominant motif underpinning Verhoeven’s creative output are her quirky and erotic figure drawings; technicolour collages featuring the staple of her work - the Verhoeven doll-faced girls.
We are proud to publish exclusive interview of Julie , taken for Leivos by our special Guest contributor Edward Blake Edwards.
Edward: Give a sentence to describe your work?
Julie: Trying hard to shout out loud and be noticed.
Edward: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got your start as an artist/designer?
Julie: I studied fashion at Medway College of Art and Design and then moved to a work placement at John Gallianos, where I remained as a design assistant for 4 years. From that point on I spent the next 15years alternating between design consultancy and illustration. I then made the gradual move over to art, but have remained teaching fashion part- time through out my career as a constant. Bit of a mess really.
Edward: The female form dominates in your illustration. Why are there so many Verhoeven women and so few Verhoeven men?
Julie: It alarms me too that I never tire of drawing women and expect this imbalance to shift but it never does, other than the arrival of an occasional effeminate white man or a brutish black man. I think its because woman are generally speaking both aesthetically and physically admired by both males and females and I want to connect with as many people as possible and I struggle with my own appearance. On a basic level, which is probably more the case, I just love excessive make -up and outlandish hairdos and women offer themselves readily in this department.
Edward: Quite a lot of your work uses imagery that focuses on the seedier side of human nature, I’m thinking of the pornographic imagery you use, why this fascination?
Julie: Its been there from an early age being drawn to the darker side of life despite having an apparent sunny demeanor. No idea why? I just think its more interesting to delve into that area and be surprised. I hate secrets and lies and think its good to be honest about these attractions and fascinations.
Edward: Tell us about a favourite recent project?
Julie: Ive just finished a video for Anothermagazine.com, with N/A Design called, ‘If You are Happy and you Know it’. Its about rainbows and death. I love working with video. Nothing much moves in mine though! but I do find it helps me find a new way of expression without making a mark on a page. That is weirdly a relief of sorts. Its quite calming in a way.
Edward: What has been the defining highlight of your career so far?
Julie: I am still awaiting the biggie. I have an especially bad memory sadly, and can only really concentrate on tomorrow.
Edward: What are the best and worst aspects of what you do?
Julie: The best aspects are being allowed to be silly and have fun in my studio for a ‘job’. The worst aspects are tidying up after a project and archiving, its so dull and never having enough money.
Thank you Julie!