Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24

Hi guys and gals

Its November 24, which means that it's my younger sister Laura's birthday. Happy birthday Laura! You are 24 on the 24th! You are so old.

Ok now on to business. I finally started taking some documentary photos of drawings from the show this summer. Since school began I haven't been doing any of my own work, and it's very depressing. I'm submitting these two drawings to two different publications and XPACE is having a zine fair in December, so those two things have gotten me to start documenting my past work properly and thinking about the next step. Not that I wasn't thinking about the next step, but you know, for real this time.

This blog is a funny thing to re read. My own writing is the worst! Don't you ever feel that way? I'm too self concious about being self concious to take any of this down. My past is nothing to be ashamed of! I'll probably re read this in three months and be like 'oh geez Julia...'

I think it's very important to be sincere and work hard, also not to be afraid of getting older. That's all I have to say. Here some art for you to look at, and I will have more up over the next couple of weeks. I'm not posting any school work because it all sucks.

Ok bye!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Hi pals!

I'm in a couple of shows this weekend in other cities that I can't go to because of overwhelming school work.

The first is at Greg's loft in Montreal:


✘ - Four bands, four artists, two lofts, and one dog.

Musical Performances by:


COUSINS (Halifax)

LOOM (Toronto)

THOMAS (Toronto)


Art and Photography by:





✘✘✘✘✘✘✘✘✘✘FIVE DOLLAR ENTRY FEE✘✘✘✘✘✘✘✘✘✘

Wahhh I can't go. But you should if you are in Montreal!

Now, I was supposed to be in this other show (Myriad Shocks) in Detroit, but unfortunately my friend Alex Mackenzie was carrying my drawings and she got stopped at the border and they wouldn't let her in. Total bummer! But, here is the link to the event, its a music/art fest with my friends Felix Kalmenson, Sasha Foster and many more doing art installations. Our friend Ben Filler has been putting this event together with a few other folks and he's been working really hard! Thanks so much Ben, I miss you all the time and I wish so much that I could be there.

Up next: scans of some prints I made last semester, a few new drawings. I've been calming down and speeding up at the same time. I am excited to submit to Ghost Hole, writing an event submission to Xspace, having some really great profs this year, cutting out sugar and alcohol for a bit (possibly the sugar permanently), thinking a lot about quitting smoking after my birthday (which is in one month!). I want to learn to play the drums! I still can't even remember to leave my house with my wallet.

Taking things slow, one day at a time.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

were you thinking about me?

So this update is long overdue but its better late than never.

Here are some photos from the show! I'm hoping to get some better documentary photos of the individual pieces of work but in the meantime, my buddy Dan Epstein took these and he's a real swell dude for doing it. Dan, I owe you a couple of drinks.

Julia Dickens and Greg Zenha

My Aritst Statement:
"My work for 'Cataract' is divided into two separate bodies. The first is a mind-map of process-based text and images, created as a collection of intuitive knowledge and perception. The latter is a series of large drawings that exist as a result of the mind-map, intended to explore the ambiguity and contradictions in specific psychological states, the fractured self.

The work intends to evoke a dream space, as a representation, interpretation, and re-arrangement of memory. When we experience dreams, the narrative is often illogical, absurd, confusing and at times terrifying. The meaning behind that experience, however difficult to define, is usually very clear though, sometimes even more so than in our experiences in waking life.

In those narratives I have recorded what I find to be significant: the split nature of the human condition, the life/death wish, the allure of the void, quiet isolation and deafening confusion, a sense of humour about the senseless, the humility and hope in existance.

The intent is for the viewer to track their own experiences through the work, as I come to terms with my own purpose. I never want to truly be alone, and I never want to die. If you asked me why I chose to make art, my answer would be this:

'Because I am alone, and I am going to die.'"

There you have it. The feedback, as I may have mentioned before, was outstanding. I was kind of blown away, especially considering the day I headed over to the White House to hang it I was having some serious doubts, along the lines of 'who the fuck do you think you are?' and so forth. I felt like I was taking some sort of risk with the text work/mind map because a lot of it is pretty personal. Ultimately the whole body of work is a kind of self portrait, but in what I hoped to be an indirect way. The reason why my pieces worked well alongside Greg's, because that is what he was attempting as well, but in his own specific way. In the aftermath, it seems somewhat surreal, but ultimately I am glad that the post show depression that can sometimes come after months of hard work, a short lived opening night high, having to shelve the work and be faced with the daunting question of 'now what?', has been pretty minimal.

In other news, I would like to maybe point out that I am getting really tired of art snobbery and insecurity. I see it coming from every direction and perspective. Its important to be critical and know what you like but I what I am observing is an attitude that is mostly unhealthy: a self- concious obsession with derivativeness (as in criticizing the works of others for being 'too derivative'), excessive focus on medium over content, and this ridiculous competition over authenticity and newness. 'Well that's been done before' and 'I dunno, I'm kind of over that' HELLO PEOPLE it has all been done before, this is besides the point!

Everyone, just make work that is meaningful, lets please try to stop this insecure bullshit. Its a negative way of thinking that is harmful to yourself, your peers and your community. Not to sound like a self help book, and again this does not mean that I do not support critical thinking, but I feel sometimes that our focus needs to be redirected into the positive aspects of both our community and our individual practices. If art is something that you love, please treat it as such. The world at large constantly denies the function and importance of artistic practice and the last thing that we need is for people within this community doing the same.

Thats it! I hope everyone had a great summer, I know I did. Keep up the good work, I'll try to do the same.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


So Greg and I had our opening last friday.

It went really really well and I think we are going to try and do the same show in Montreal, possibly with our friend Dietrich Rostek (link is on my sidebar) although we haven't actually asked him yet.

Here is the full length film that Greg made with Jeremy Shantz, which was premiered at the opening. My roommate Brendan said something about this film which I really liked and that I also think sort of goes along with and compliments Greg's artistic style in general.

He told me that the artist Sophie Calle once said that humour is the hardest thing to put into your work. You run the risk, with humour, of just being a 'funny' artist, in which case of course neither you or anyone else can take you seriously. Its a difficult thing to have a sense of humour while also being sincere about a possibly difficult and serious subject. And Brendan believed that the film managed to do both.

I'm going to have to strongly agree. This film makes me laugh and literally also makes me want to weep. Its about a specific personal experience but somehow I think can manage to hit a nerve in most of us, or at least I hope so. I have been in communication with Greg since he first concieved of the idea for this film until its completion, so maybe my bias is far too strong. I am interested in hearing what other people think, but so far, Brendan's opinion included, is that people were impressed with the technical skill with which the film was executed, but more importantly with its emotional content and impact.

I can't watch it anymore, because I will probably just cry again, but watch it, let me know what you think, if possible.

Dan Epstein took photos of the event, and as soon as I get them from that lovely man, I will post them up here and on facebook for people to see. I am also going to take a short video of the exhibit before I take it down from the White House, so that's another treat to look forward to.

Thanks to everyone who came out, who gave me the best feedback I have ever gotten on my work, ever, who supported both of us, and to the White House as well. You guys are just the fucking best.

I have lots of great plans for projects in the future... after a year of some serious self doubt and questioning, I finally feel like I am on a path, there is a purpose and that I can and will accomplish the things I dream about. Its a pretty amazing feeling, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading, xoxo.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Its been a while, huh?

I've been working on a lot of things, but haven't really felt the urge to post anything in a long time. Sometimes I just like to have the privacy to work things out without having to show anybody except maybe my non internet peers and teachers. Also, the constant struggle of 'why am I doing this with my life' continues as per usual. What else is new?

Maybe its important to question, within reason of course. You have to be able to push your work. I tend to get a little too bogged down in the questions of 'are you really cut out for this?' and 'does anybody actually care?' OH WAIT, I CARE. That is always what is important right?

Anyways, I have some news! I have a show (actually two) coming up in two weeks!

First, lets have a little life update: I lived at the Gibraltor Point Art Centre for a month in June and it was just the loveliest. Beach parties, great people, beautiful studio, so much kale. I'm a little sad to return to the city. BUT GUESS WHAT? I am going to register for next summer so don't worry, I'll be back. I wish I could just live there forever, its really as magical as everyone says it is.

Ok, so I took a little trip to Montreal back in April and that was real nice except for the weather but the best part about the trip was that I got reunited with my friend Greg Zenha. Greg is a photographer and he's a real good one, and we started talking about our ideas and things we were working on and I was all like 'hey! lets do a show together' and he was like 'ok!' and that was pretty much it.

Here's me talking about this show on the island with David Hanes (my studio mate):

The show is called 'CATARACT.' It features new drawings from myself, large photographs and a short film from Greg.

1) an eye disease that involves the clouding or opacification of the natural lens of the eye
2) a large waterfall; violent rush of water over a precipice.

This exhibition of recent work from Julia Dickens and Greg Zenha, consists of drawings, paintings, photography and film, and initially began as a reunion of two friends. Developed as a means of individually documenting memory and personal experiences, the artists found a common dialogue within their ideas: a sense of frustration but also humour, a break down of significant events, the emotional cataract that follows, and the desire to create meaning of those events in hindsight.

The mirror that Greg and Julia hold up to each other reflects three thresholds. Initiating a conversation between the two artists but also with the viewer. The ambiguity of these three images triggers an emotional memory, ideally exposing the viewer to something within themselves and their own experiences.

Julia Dickens is currently completing a BA in Illustration with minors in Printmaking and Painting & Drawing. She is a former board member at the White House Studio Project, and has shown work in various group shows in Toronto and Ottawa.

Greg Zenha is a graduate of the School of Photographic Arts in Ottawa, specializing in large format film photography. He currently lives and has his studio in Montreal, Canada. This is Greg's first Toronto exhibition, and Greg and Julia's first time exhibiting work together."

Vernissage: July 15th, 7pm.
Gallery Open: July 16th and 17th, 1 - 5pm.

I will post up our personal artist statments, as well as sneak peaks at the work, closer to the date. This is another show I am submitting a drawing to, at the Baitshop in Parkdale.

A Group exhibit of 25 local artists bring you the best in down right dirty murder mystery pleasure.

Come have a hoedown with us all as we celebrate the opening night of CAVES & THIEVES at THE BAITSHOP in lovely Parkdale.


7 pm - 12 am


Erika Altosaar
Gordon Auld
Vicky Avramopoulos
Peter Beales
David Clarke
Arend Currie
Julia Dickens
Myra Dingley
Andru Doyle
Andrew Dunn Clarke ( )
Renee Dykeman
Mike Ellis (
Ro Garizurieta
Eryn Hill
Tiffany Huta (
Jennifer Ilett (
Anna Kasko
Emily Kouri (
Selena Lee (
Vincent Luk
Andrea Manica
Matt Moreland
Hitoshi Murakami
Ewelina Pankowska
Next Level Art Collective (
Sylvia Waliczek
Eric Kostiuk Williams







Bands start at 9pm


Entrance to THE BAITSHOP Is off of Milky Way.

Hope you can make it to either! XO