Today I would like to write about somebody who inspires me: the fashion designer, artist and illustrator Julie Verhoeven. Julie lives in London and has worked for the fashion industry and creative industry for many years.
She was born in Kent, England in 1969. Her father was a graphic designer and her mother an illustrator. She says that the creative environment she grew up in is responsible for her unusual talent.
Julie ended her high school education when she was 16 and began her higher education in an Art and Design College. She loved to dress up. At the college she was into illustration but also into textile print design and fashion cutting. After her degree at the college she applied to go to Saint Martin’s College but she was not accepted (today she teaches there). For 4 years she was the assistant of John Galliano. For him she created print designs and illustrations. She learned a lot while working there. Then she wanted to focus her career on illustration. But it was hard to find good commissions, one reason for this was that her work was very much fashion oriented and very unusual. She started to teach. Since she felt that the fashion world might be better than the illustration world she moved to Paris to do fashion. There she worked for Martine Sitbon. She was responsible for textile prints, illustration but also designs for the collection and accessories.
1995 she went back to London but continued to freelance for Martine Sitbon. Now she was better off with her commissions and received a lot of work in the areas illustration and creative management. She was also a designer for Gibo and created lots of bold fashion. She continued teaching (until today).
Above you can see her work samples. To get more information you can buy two books about her: Gas Book 13 and Fat Bottomed Girls or visit her website.
Julie also moved in the art world. She was invited to do exhibitions in galleries. Her artworks are dominated by female figures and explicit sexual motifs.
Companies like Louis Vuitton and magazines as Dazed and Confused or Vogue, as well as Mulberry, Lacoste, Topshop, etc. worked with Julie Verhoeven. She started teaching at Saint Martin’s College.
I personally like her pen stroke. You can see the blind confidence she has in her drawing technique. She combines elements from the textile field, such as flowers and other patterns and symbols that are typically used in fashion design in her illustrations creating her own unique style and world. In this world the Verhoeven-girls were created.
These women make her work highly narrative and give the work a story-telling context.
There is also a dominant beauty to her work.
The (faded) strokes are in pencil, china ink or in watercolour marks or stains as well as in coloured pencils, collage effects, photocopied paper, coloured paper, etc. The monochrome parts of the work are enhanced with touches of bright (pop) colours which are skillfully combined. Together these elements create a bold and happy effect. Strong colourful elements make the artworks very positive. At the same time the Verhoeven-girls are happy & positive as well as anxious and sad – terrified.
There is a trashy, punk feel to the artworks, they also have a quality of the unfinished, imperfect. The feel to these works is one of rebellion. She does not constrain herself to the standards of any industry, her illustrations are a statement against compulsion and confinements. There is a softness and pride in the way she adheres to her instincts and lets the handwritten and handmade excel. This has brought her many followers amongst which are some of the world’s finest brands.
Credits: The information in this article and the photos are taken from the following sources:
a. Gas Book 13 JULIE VERHOEVEN 2004, Publisher Shinjiro Nishino, 64 pages, ISBN 4-86083-364-3
b. IdN International Designers Network Magazine, Volume 14 Number 3 2007 Three, Fashion Graphics Issue, http://www.idnworld.com