Who and where are you from?
My name is Juliette Belmonte. I was born in Costa Rica, but I moved to the United States when I was a child. I have moved a lot throughout my life and will likely continue to do so as I find I gain a new perspective with each move. I studied graphic design in college, but I ended up never using my degree and instead pursued a career in painting. Later in life, I studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and The Art Students League of New York.
How you got into this?
My mother was a working artist while I was growing up and I spent a tremendous amount of time watching her work in her studio. She had a unique and somewhat casual approach to art that always made it feel accessible to me. We would listen to records from all over the world and I would fall into a sort of spell while I watched her paint. The tranquility of the artist studio was the one constant in an otherwise ever shifting landscape. The positive associations I have with art making all stemmed from this time in my life and are still very much with me.
What is your driving force?
There is a sort of happy mania that forces me to constantly paint. I sometimes have this sense that time outside the studio is wasted time and I try to break myself from this line of thinking. My style is constantly changing and I think part of me wants to see what’s going to happen next. As I’m easily influenced by my surroundings and moods, the change in my work can be a surprise even to me.
What kind of work do you do and why?
I have recently been scouring vintage photographs especially of the Victorian and Edwardian Era , looking for an expression or look that I feel transcends time. Occasionally there is something I instantly recognize in a face as familiar and that will become my subject.. It appeals to me that though this person is long gone, the story that is captured in their expression remains. I seek to resurrect their story and set it into a present and abstracted construct. I incorporate found objects, fabrics, gold leaf and organic elements into my current paintings. I like the physical layers they help to create and feel those layers act as metaphors for times past.
“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.”
― Pablo Picasso