Music is the common thread that holds all of us together no matter who we are, where we live or how we live our lives. Music has set a deep imprint on Juliette Hemingway in her art, and in her life…
Denver artist Juliette Hemingway’s artwork focuses on one genre of music – “Jazz.”
Hemingway’s “Moving Through a Mood,” painting depicts a man strumming a bass, while her striking “Blues Hall” captures a man soulfully blowing a saxophone.
“Jazz is a universal language,” explains Hemingway who started listening to jazz and blues with her grandparents. “It’s a set language that everybody can relate to young and old. Even young people who may not relate to it now, they mature into it later. It’s one of those type of music genres that I feel really can pull your emotional heartstrings.”
Hemingway, a former Air Force brat who
was born in Belleville, Illinois, says she cannot recall a time when she wasn’t drawing. “I remember growing up on my grandparent’s farm and me and my cousins would sit at the table and draw for hours and read comic books.”
Hemingway says comic books are still a major influence, punctuated by her favorite artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, William H. Johnson, old masters, such as DaVinci and Michelangelo.
“I love the illustrative works of Norman Rockwell, JC Leyendecker and Mucha,” she says.
Even though Hemingway is self-taught, she’s on a knowledge quest – watching videos on various websites including Schoolism.com, WattsAtelier.com, proko.com and oatleyacademy.com.
“I mentored under master sculptor Ed Dwight, and still seek him out for advice even now,” she says. “I have been influenced a lot with concept artists who work in the digital media, such as, Armand Serrano (Zootopia and Big Hero 6), Robert Kondo (Monsters University and Ratatouille) and Dice Tsutsumi (Robots and Horton Hears a Who!).”
Music and Art
Hemingway’s website displays a multitude of drawings and paintings that she has done. Her prints range from $35 to $100, and originals range from $300 to $750. One series includes pen and ink sketches on law books from the 1800s.
“This bookstore down on Broadway closed,” Hemingway says explaining what inspired her. “We went over there and were looking around and there’s this stack of law books from the 1800s. So I got five of the books which are about two to three inches thick.
“I just thought what an interesting contrast to put a page of law – the boundaries of law – as my foundation for my artwork. Artwork is so creative and free and about going outside the box,” continues Hemingway. “You can look through these pages and see something about this case in 1890 in Colorado and then you have this image of this conductor or musician on top of it. I just thought it was fun.”
Music not only appears in Hemingway’s artwork, but it also helps her get into the mood of creating art. “I listen to music while I’m painting. A song by Miles Davis might come on and it might inspire me to sketch something out. It’s one of those components that help me do things.”
Hemingway says she can evoke a message through her art if it has a music theme instead of a controversial one. “I’m not a very controversial artist. So instead of being so literal with it, I’ll put a music theme behind it to help get the message across.”
Almost every person that Hemingway has painted is blue. The blue represents autism and also doesn’t set a race for her people.
“I paint blue people because my son is autistic,” Hemingway says. “The blue represents that part of my life that’s ever-present, so it’s ever-present in my pieces as well. I started experimenting with pulling other colors in. But because blue has such meaning for me, it’ll probably always be a theme in my work.”
A Brighter Outlook
Hemingway’s paintings have been showcased at various events in and out of Colorado including the 33rd annual Winter Park Jazz Festival in July 2015 and the Fields Foundation’s Annual Courageous Citizens Award Ceremony and Champagne Brunch in 2012 and 2013.
“I do have plans to show in Art Basel, Miami in December 2017,” she says with fingers crossed.
When people look at Hemingway’s art, she wants them to know there are still beautiful things in the world despite its negativity. “I’m hoping my artwork will bring a little bit of joy to patrons and non-patrons alike. I also want people to be aware that autism is not a disease. It’s a way of life.”
Hemingway says when she creates her art she is doing it for Javari, her 12-year-old son who is following in her footsteps. “Hopefully I can pave the way for him and it’ll be easier for him. I think he’s more gifted than I am at his age – he can do a lot more than I could. I’m really proud of him for that.
“My art is about creating a legacy for Javari. When I’m gone, that is all I have to leave him,” Hemingway says. “So it’s not a matter of if I will make it, but when.”