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Sylvie Julkowski

Immortalizing the Passing of Time

Painting her immediate environment, her beloved Parisian capital and transient moments of everyday life, Sylvie Julkowski’s approach is figurative, but above all, delicate.
Contemplated and intimate, she allows her viewers small glimpses of privileged moments that have been immortalized on canvas. Welcome to Sylvie Julkowski’s universe…

K. Hello Sylvie, what a pleasure to get to know you! When and how did you become an artist?

I always wanted to go in this direction. Life decided otherwise and it is only after having raised my three children that I was able to take three years of oil painting classes at the Art School of Douai. Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a very good eye for drawing which has helped me considerably throughout my career.

K. What are the artistic trends or artists (modern and contemporary) that have inspired you and/or still inspire you?

I think of Yan-Pei-Ming and his immense black and white formats, very powerful in his confident gesture. I think of Safet Zec, Bosnian painter with a deeply moving view of humanity.

I am a great admirer of the work of Gérard Garouste who recently exhibited at the Templon Gallery and who, after working on the Talmud, has devoted himself to the work of Kafka. I also think of the energetic and raw painting of Lucian Freud, of the power of his works. In fact, I think that what I like is painting without concession, artists who impose their point of view with sincerity and determination.

In this respect, I also like the street-artist Banksy who needs no introduction, as well as Ernest-Pignon-Ernest (the father of Street Art), who is known for his poignant ephemeral works. I love the idea of saying or showing serious situations in a single image.

K. One model is recurrent in your work: your daughter. How was this collaboration born? How does a portrait session unfold ?

I work in series. The series that is most important to me is the one featuring my daughter as my model. The collaboration came quite naturally when I needed a model to sit for scenes I wanted to paint (at first with some reluctance on her part but now it has become a habit).

I imagine the scene in all its fine details. This can take several days. I make sketches to ponder several compositional possibilities and when I have made my choice, I share my vision with my daughter.

I am currently doing a series of photos with her. Having a very busy job, she comes home often, but for only two days. A photo session is therefore the most practical solution.

Vespérales Pensées

Oil on canvas (27 x 35 cm)

La Course du Temps

Oil on canvas (81 x 100 cm)

Obviously I am not looking to create an exact resemblance. What interests me is the expression of my subject. I do not like to draw attention away from it. For this reason, the background of my paintings is usually quite busy and scattered – it’s to emphasize the tranquility of the expression found in the subject’s regard.

K. In addition to portraits, you also create still lifes and rather particular scenes of vintage cars partially covered in rust. What do these subjects represent to you?

When painting cars or Vespas, I take up the spirit of the vanities of the past by making them appear aged and rusted, thus translating the inexorable passage of time which reduces once prestigious vehicles to nothing at all. The parallel is obvious with our own existence. The work on vehicles is interesting because it presents transparencies, reflections but also opacities.

As for the still lifes that I create with my own objects, I try to anchor them in our time by privileging metal, glass and by using a palette of colored greys and nuanced whites which generates a rather contemporary atmosphere.

Chevrolet Bel Air

Oil on canvas (80 x 80 cm)

Composition aux Abricots

Oil on canvas (40 x 40 cm)

Composition aux Hortensias

Oil on canvas (55 x 46 cm)

Mini Cooper

Oil on canvas (65 x 92 cm)

K. The architecture of Paris and its pretty streets reveal a more urban and bubbling aspect in your approach. What does this city evoke for you? How do you select the places to paint?

Printemps Républicain

Acrylic Painting (92 x 73 cm)

I am deeply inspired by the city, Paris in particular is where I spend part of the year. During my wanderings, I visit my favorites places and make watercolors in the moment, if I’m able to. I then reproduce them in my studio.

As for the cars, I really like the particular framing as in « A Summer Break » or « Un Dimanche à Vélo » where the Eiffel Tower is only partially depicted. It gives it a much more imposing presence than if it had been done entirely.

Un Dimanche à Vélo

Oil on canvas (100 x 66 cm)

K. What is the main message you would like people to take away from your work?

My work is inspired by my life and I only paint the places I have been, the objects I own (except cars!). In short, it is inspired by my immediate surroundings. The work with my daughter serves to express things that are important to me. In a word, I paint my life.

Sylvie Julkowski’s Next Artistic Events

September 24-October 24, 2021: Galerie Lurquin, Dinant (Belgium)

October 2-25, 2021: Salon d’Automne International, Lunéville (France)

October 2-3, 2021: Open House of the Artists’ Workshops, Douai (France)

November 6-14, 2021 : Douaisian Artists Exhibition, Salles d’Anchin, Douai (France)

February 16-20, 2022 : Salon des Artistes Français, Art Capital, Grand Palais éphémère, Paris (France)

Sylvie Julkowski’s Gallery

Spy Kid

Oil on canvas (27 x 41 cm)

Triadou Haussman

Oil on canvas (60 x 74 cm)

Low Tide

Oil on canvas (39 x 56 cm)

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