Meet Julie Goldstein
September 11, 2023
Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Julie Goldstein. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Julie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
I have always created bodies of work that involved women and the sea and often they became semi-autobiographical. When I was pregnant with my son Frankie, I took time away from my process and spent time researching. I spent 9 months diving deep into stories about women during the early 1900’s who challenged men to swim across the Hudson River, this was a time when women weren’t allowed to wear swimsuits nor swim in public. As the rich stories became illustrations and later characters in my work and then developed into one of my favorite bodies of work “The Women’s Life Saving League”. This work was developed in 2013 and the rich history and storytelling has influenced my direction and dedication to share authentic stories about women, their fearless ability to make societal change, balance motherhood and develop friendships based around the sea.
Julie, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
At a young age I knew that I wanted to be an artist. I studied Fine Art at The University of Connecticut where I learned the art of Woodcut Printmaking. There were only a handful of Printmakers in my major at the time. I knew after graduating that I would dedicate my career to this practice and would master the tedious process around woodcut printmaking. Over the years I have both taught printmaking and collaborated with both the fashion and surf industry, making everything from skate decks to interiors to products and murals. I was fortunate to exhibit my work right after graduate school, where I studied Fine Art and Art Education at Columbia University, I started to show in galleries, group exhibitions and later internationally. I always knew that I wanted to balance my time between the studio deadlines and teaching. After 22 years of working as an artist, I can say that I am happily teaching Printmaking at California State University and am busy in my studio, preparing for exhibitions and collaborating with brands.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
I feel that being an artist is one of the greatest opportunities to influence, inspire and educate others. Often people feel stuck and can’t get out of a rut. Art is a way to stimulate a memory and inspire a deep emotion in the viewer. I devote my practice to authentic storytelling that will empower and influence the audience to relate to the work but also to themselves and others. We forget how to practice creativity and as an artist I try to promote pencil to paper, documenting life and allowing life to drive and connect us to one another. I practice these techniques with my students, some who haven’t felt creative since elementary school. I remind them that we are born creative and as adults its time to re-connect with our inner-child, break the rules, sing out loud, draw whatever you see and write your ideas and thoughts, because they are important! If anything, it feels good to re-connect to your creative self, it is healing and rewarding on many levels!
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
In 2007, I was living back in my hometown of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, with my husband Mark Tesi. Long Beach Island is an 18 mile barrier island just south of New York City. He and I decided to open a gallery called PINE, just blocks from the beach. The back of the gallery was my studio, where I also had a small hand-printed clothing line. In the front, we had a gallery where we exhibited artists from both the East and West coasts. The space was quaint and my absolute dream come true. It got a lot of attention in a short amount of time, and I loved it so much. Everything that I made in my little studio, went right in the gallery, we developed relationships with collectors and locals who just loved to experience the art and space. Pine was only open for 8 months, when it caught fire and burned to the ground. This was a very pivotal moment in my career. I lost all my clothing line, woodcuts, art and more. We decided to relocate and start over in Southern California. The question was, how do I start over? Do I even want to start over? Maybe this is a sign to do something different with my career. I decided to face my fears and grief and dove right into my new life. I spent my time alone, swimming and surfing, the sea is my sanctuary and always helps me with ideas, reflection, and connection to nature. It was then, that my work took a turn. I documented every single swim, the colors of the water, the temperature, my bathing suit or wetsuit, and fins, but most importantly how I felt in and under the Pacific. This body of work was titled “Swim With Me” that later became a product line, SWM and also my Instagram handle @swmwithme. The concept was deeply autobiographical and helped me grieve. I realized that I needed support and although the figures were swimming solo in each piece, as a group they were a tribe, swimming together and moving forward.