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The Painter’s Canvas: Julian Pace

To an artist or painter, the blank canvas can sometimes appear to be the most daunting thing on earth. Where does one begin? How is this idea going to turn out? Is the color palette I chose going to work, or is going to be complete rubbish? All those challenging thoughts are part and parcel of the creative process, and NY-based painter/graphic designer, Julian Pace knows them all too well. Pace’s paintings and graphic depictions are nothing short of striking. He deftly uses his brushstrokes to create visuals that vibrantly leap off the canvas, and just recently, he began applying his art to pieces of clothing. The impressive results are highly covetable, customized grails that are quickly earning him a cult following within New York’s fashion cognoscenti. We visited his Roosevelt Island apartment and studio to find out more about his craft and future creative aspirations.

When did you first start painting, and are you professionally trained or self-taught? 

I’ve been drawing and painting for most of my life. I actually stopped for about 5-6 years, but I’ve been back at it for a few years now and I’m really trying to focus in just this past year. I’m mostly self-taught.

How would you describe your painting style? 

I think I’m still trying to figure that out. I kind of switch it up a lot.

Can you tell us a little about your creative process. Do you have to wait for the inspiration to hit you, or are you always just ready to create? 

I think you have to just start working even if you aren’t feeling particularly inspired. Ideas always come when I start sort of stream of consciousness. You don’t always know where a certain path is going to lead until you start walking.

What are some of your most memorable art projects to date; and have you done work for any big clients? 

I haven’t really done any BIG projects yet, some cool people have reached out to me, but nothing has really come of it yet.  I think that I’m doing some of my favorite work right now and I just want to push it further.

When did you first transferring your art onto clothing; and why did you choose clothing as a canvas for your work? 

I’ve just started doing that in these past few months. I’ve always wanted to screen print on clothes, but I found it tedious and restrictive. I was getting bored with just drawing and I didn’t have any canvas, so I painted on this old military jacket i had and that’s how it started. It gives me the freedom to do what I want and it’s a good platform for getting my work out into the world. I think of it as my living gallery.

Do you intend to expand this area of your art and perhaps create your own line of custom clothing? 

I don’t know about a line, but maybe. I think that would be pretty cool though. Expanding, absolutely. In the sense that I want more people wearing my stuff.

What do you like to do to restore your reservoir of artistic energy and inspiration in NYC? 

Go for walks and wander through galleries and museums listening to hip hop.

Do you have any favorite books, magazines, or hobbies you like to use for relaxing and unwinding? 

I would highly recommend you read Tribe by Sebastien Junger and then supplement that with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. They really struck a chord with me. It’s hard for me to unwind. I’m almost always working on something. but if I just need to switch it off and just relax my mind I listen to podcasts or watch cartoons. I used to train brazilian jiu jitsu, but have been too broke to afford it recently so when i get a little bit of cash flow i’ll get back into that.

Most artists are know for having a unique sense of style and fashion; how would you describe your own style? 

Pretty casual and usually wearing sneakers.

Lastly, where do you picture your artistic career 5 years from now?

It’s hard to picture that. I want to have my own studio within the next 5 years. otherwise I will be doing bigger works and hopefully have some of the clothes I’m making on people who have inspired me. I’m always open to new things that might pop up, so I never know where exactly life might take me.

Be sure to follow Julian Pace’s creation on IG here: @juliangray 


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