My work centers the emotional experience of Black women by creating images of Black female bodies in oil paint that emphasize self-esteem, healing and peace. My paintings often feature textured hair, embracing it as a source of pride, and affirming the beauty in its volume and shape. My work is inspired by poets like Lucille Clifton and Audre Lorde, as well as other writers who have lifted up the experience of Black women and urged us to love ourselves. As I consider what spaces are safe Black women, I play with levels of abstraction in both the body and the background to create a dream-like image. I am interested in how Black women can shut out the gaze of others and find a sense of peace and rest within themselves.
Julie Atkinson began painting after working in business and then as a lawyer. What began with an impromptu purchase of a set of watercolor paint quickly grew into a passion for exploring the human figure and emotions through the colors and texture of oil paint. Her art education comes from self-directed online courses as well as from local community centers. She is deeply grateful to all the artists she met in these communities for their advice and encouragement. Julie's work has been included in the Art of the African Diaspora exhibition at the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California, and in other galleries in the Bay Area. In 2022, her piece, Yellow, was selected for the the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. Julie's work has also been included in several online exhibitions and at the Jacoby Art Center in Alton, Illinois.
Julie lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.