The Shoe Shop III
Julie Held was born in London in 1958, and continues to live and work there, as a practising artist. From 1977 until 1981, she trained at the Camberwell School of Art, followed by a post-graduate diploma at the Royal Academy Schools from 1982 to 1985.
Held was born to parents who came to England as refugees. As well as influencing her personal life, it has in turn, impacted her art to the same effect, exploring aspects of intransigence, absence and presence.
Taking subject matter from her daily life, Held allows chinks of observation to permeate her mind’s eye, sometimes for several months, before painting it. She works from both memory and direct observation.
Held creates work which juxtaposes pain and joy, frequently referencing themes of love, family and religion and the agonies and ecstasies which are so obstinately attached. Her use of rich, bright colours is at one time both garish and enthralling, describing the juxtaposing inconsistency of human emotion.
Many of her drawings and oil paintings are solo portraits, for example, “The Journey – Gift”. This work of oil on canvas depicts a woman on a train, beside her is a gift, ostensibly for the person she will meet at the end of her journey. She could, of course, also be returning from an event, and the gift is intended for her. The woman does resemble the artist herself, and it is could possibly be a self portrait. It is worth considering why Held chose to depict the woman’s journey, rather than the possibly more exciting event which the journey precedes or indeed, follows.
In addition to her successful artistic career, Held teaches art at the Camden Institute, the Barnet College of Further Education and the University of Wolverhampton. She is also a visiting lecturer at the Prince’s Drawing School in London.