Headwaters Artist Profile: Julia Gilmore


Julia Gilmore in her studio and home in Inglewood.


Candy apples, viewmasters, old flashbulb cameras – Julia Gilmore’s paintings are a gleeful display of affection for the retro, making glamorous the various objects of sentiment that capture her fancy. And the artist is every bit as boisterous as her art.

“People often say I look like my art,” Julia says. “It’s true of most artists if they’re true to their art.”

The Inglewood resident has been painting seriously for over a decade, using a palette knife and oil paint to send colours laughing across the canvas – tools usually employed by abstract painters. Her unique approach, and the vibrancy and energy in her representations, have seen a growing and excited following in both Canada and abroad.

“Everybody has seen everything by now, and I’m here to bring back that deep-rooted feeling that people have when they see these old objects,” she says. “We’re surrounded by stuff that we totally take for granted – this is my attempt to say there’s beauty in all of this, in a garbage can, in a coffee can.”

Julia was born in New Hampshire and grew up in Montreal, graduating from Concordia with a degree in fine arts. She spent 15 years in a three-piece underground band during the heyday of New Wave, putting out three or four albums and making it as far as Berlin to represent Canada. She settled down and returned to painting after her son was born, channeling her considerable energies back into a passion she’d had since she was six.

“Most artists suffer greatly for their work, they fear running out of ideas,” she says. “But there’s this absolute exuberance that I feel every day – inside a coffee can, a peony, the bottom of a glass of wine. It almost distracts me from life!

“I’ll never run out of ideas to paint, and I’ll never run out of happiness.”

Julia Gilmore was the recipient of the 2012 Hills of Headwaters Artisan of the Year Award. Read more about the Taste of Tourism Awards here, or visit her website here.