Julia Eisen-Lester

The perpetual activity of urban life has inspired my most recent body of work. New York City, which is home to millions of souls, has become a conduit to my art production. I am fascinated by the ordinary and sometimes personal ways that people conduct themselves in public spaces. They may be waiting for a bus, hanging out on a street corner or just sitting on a bench watching traffic. What are these people thinking, are they lonely, what do they do, whom do they love? Such moments evoke interesting stories that move me to recreate them on canvas.

I have spent the last five years traversing the city’s many streets and neighborhoods. Both by day and by night I document the scenes that captivate me by photographing and sketching them. This preserves the image that I will use to help me transfer my ideas onto the canvas. My goal is to portray the moments that I have witnessed by painting them vibrantly and with immediacy, offering my viewers a glimpse into the world that inspires me. Transferring and drawing from the sketch or the photo is a process that I find exciting and challenging, especially when working on a six-foot surface.

Throughout my artistic practice I have experimented with a variety of media including gouache, pastel, collage, graphite, crayon, and oil paint. It is through my use of oil paint, more than any other medium, that I feel a visceral connection between brush, paint and canvas. I strive to make the colors vibrate and compliment my subjects. I find that I can achieve those technical goals best with oils, which allow me to capture the vividness and fluidity of my city scenes.

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