Julia Llerena. Portrait photography and interview by BARTE.
The Straight-Up series by Juan Barte is part of his long-term project “Enjoy”; An exploration of individual freedom through some of Madrid’s new art scene key individuals. Follow Enjoy progress on Barte’s web, and also on his Instagram.

Formidable Mag. What was your first creative impulse?
Julia Llerena. It’s something I’m not aware of, I think it’s always been in me I believe it’s in every one of us since we are born.

F.M. Is there some epiphany moment that made you realize art would be your way?

J.Ll. I took a long time to decide to study Fine Arts and even during my courses I wasn’t sure if it was the right choice. I always was wondering where it’d take me. When I graduated I decided to take some time to explore what I wanted to say as an artist and in what way. It was a long process. Now I have a deeper knowledge of my artistic practice because I know myself better. To me, it was important to understand what kind of artist I am.

F.M. Inspirational artists?
J.Ll. The artists who inspire me to change as I change and evolve as an artist, but I always keep in mind those that inspired me in my early stages because it takes me back to that time in my life.

F.M. How would you define your work?

J.Ll. My work is structured on a clear, almost scientific coordinate axis. In it, two themes intersect, the exploration of space, in all its meanings and the exploration of the word as a form of thought and knowledge. These two aspects are key to me since it is through language and naming that we approach our surroundings and we make sense of the world. It’s how we make them our own and we get to know them.

F.M. Is there a concept, vision, discourse, overture, that allows you to take on new projects while keeping consistent with your body of work?

J.Ll. I feel the need to explore with a series of specific objects that I use from one project to another because they are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. My interests are changing, but some objects are always present. I work for projects and I think what could be a good physical form to count them, something that connects and excites me. The same concept can be solved in a thousand different ways. Little by little I create a visual and objectual vocabulary, my own words to which I can go at any time because they are familiar to me. In the processes appear complications that make you look for alternative ways for the final result to work. Along the way, you discover new interests. This is how I am chaining a project with the following one.

F.M. Would you say your studio setting influences your work
J.Ll. I am not a studio artist, I come to the studio when I need to explore a subject, a form, a technique… but it doesn’t happen all the time. I like to do my research outside the studio, I feel more connected. Anyway, my process is continuously changing because I adjust to the moment so I can work anywhere.

F.M. Is the studio just a place for production or also inspiration 
is inherent to the studio space?

J.Ll. The studio is the place where I store my bank of objects, when surrounded by these objects, they inevitably inspire me different ways of exploration. When I enter the studio I do so with my senses wide awake. I analyze each of the pieces I have there, I connect to what they tell me, to what they can contribute to my practice, as well as to the interaction between me and them.

F.M. Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically?

J.Ll. I am very happy with my studio as it’s right now. It’s shared space with other artists. My side of the studio is roomy and very bright, which is something very important to me. I could stay there even if it is only to enjoy the sun, a cozy place always makes me approach projects with a good attitude.

F.M. How is a day in the life of Julia Llerena?

J.Ll. It’s never the same for me. Since I work on my own I plan my day just the night before, so I wake up with a set goal.

F.M. Best and worst night out?
J.Ll. I don’t remember any night so bad as to remember it. I think maybe the best one was not too long ago…

F.M. What do you love and hate about Madrid?

J.Ll. I don’t hate anything about Madrid. I love lots of things, it always feels good when I come back after a while away.

F.M. What’s on your playlist?

J.Ll. A little bit of everything.

F.M. Our motto is “A life less ordinary”, what makes life less ordinary?

J.Ll. I truly believe life takes you down its own path. I don’t think we can control everything. What matters is what you make out of what life throws at you. For instance, taking the morning coffee can turn into something really special. In the end, it’s within us, and how we see the outside world is actually in us.


More on Julia Llerena? Check her web.