What makes a painter paint? Filmed in her Bedford-Stuyvesant studio, artist Jamian Juliano-Villani uses a digital projector to create surreal paintings and discusses the graphic source material that inspires her. Juliano-Villani’s Brooklyn studio is crowded with a wildly varied collection of books ranging from 70s-era fashion, to commercial illustration, to Scientific American-style photography, to obscure European comic art. This vast image bank—which the artist began collecting in high school—generates the building blocks for her mashup creative process. “When I’m working I’ll have thirty images in a month or two months that I’ll keep on coming back to, and I’ll try and make those work with what I’m doing, but they’ll never look like they’re supposed to be together,” says Juliano-Villani. “That’s when the painting can change from an image-based narrative to something else.” Working quickly and intuitively with the projector, Juliano-Villani toggles through a series of potential images on her laptop as a way to discover solutions for content and composition. Long attracted to cartoons, the artist borrows from illustration as a way to deflate painting’s historical pretensions and to speak in a more direct language; and yet, despite her use of vernacular imagery, what her works ultimately communicate might only be personally understood. “Painting is the thing that validates me and the thing that makes me feel good. I care about it, and they care about me. That’s why I put the things that I collect and really, really love in my paintings,” says Juliano-Villani. “They’re helping me figure out the things that I can’t communicate to myself yet.” Featured works include Bounty Hunter (2013), Mixed Up Moods (2014), Moving Day (In and Out) (2014), Russell’s Corner (2014), and Penny’s Change (2015).

Jamian Juliano-Villani (b. 1987, Newark, New Jersey, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

CREDITS | ART21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Producer & Editor: RAVA Films. Cinematography: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Production Assistant: Anais Freitas Elespuru. Design & Graphics: Open. Artwork: Jamian Juliano-Villani. Thanks: Josh Abelow, Brian Belott, Marina Caron, Jonathan Goldman, Liz Goldman, Jens Hoffman, JTT, & Tanya Leighton Gallery. An ART21 Workshop Production. © ART21, Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

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22 Responses to Jamian Juliano-Villani’s Painting Compulsion

  1. Pingback: Jamian Juliano-Villani Gets the Art21 Video Treatment | ARTnews

  2. Pingback: Jamian Juliano-Villani’s Painting Compulsion | ART21 Magazine

  3. Dana H. says:

    Why would you glorify smoking like that. I love Art21, but that is disappointing!

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  4. Mary Buchanan says:

    A visual artist can be healthy and well balanced in their studio practice. I was interested in this clip for about 30 seconds.

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  5. Sy Bodson says:

    Wow! So compelling, Jamian! Yes, painting for words. Come out for a drink once in a while! Feed the feelings! I’ll keep watching your work.

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  6. maria says:

    this by no means “discusses the graphic source material that inspires her”, all she does is copy existing images and works out a composition, thats all, truly no merit! she even uses colors ready, no work process in color making! truly dissaapointing and once again an eye opener for people who have made us think that there is a lot of merit in these contemporary processes!!!

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  7. Karen says:

    Her artwork is so intricate and amazing. I think she’s extremeley talented. I think those who actually appreciate art will look at her artwork, not that she’s smoking a cigarette. Don’t you bitter people have something better to do than rant on online platforms?

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  8. John says:

    Awesome artist.

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  9. Luis says:

    If you don’t like smoking….DON’T.

    Smoking wasn’t gloried, if that’s what she does, that’s her life.
    The video is about her art and how she lives.

    People can be such utter babies, and I am shocked when people interested in art are babies.
    It’s just laughable. Congrats to Jamian on the art!

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  10. Carl Smith says:

    well done art 21, this was not a snoozefest

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  11. For the person who wrote about smoking. I don’t think they really glorified it. I think it is part of who she is and that’s what they were depicting. Even though I don’t particularly care for her work. I connect with her on the fact that I too have felt alone most of my life. Even tough her work is not my taste it is well done.

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  12. laura says:

    Interesting! Smoking is often a part of an obsessive compulsion, making it an honest depiction of her character, she admits she’s not the most balanced of people. How the video is edited shouldn’t devalue the insight she gives, her self awareness offers a lot to connect with and she deserves a positive comment for that : )

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  13. Flora says:

    Really interesting to see and hear about the process Jamain goes through. Very brave of her to talk about the personal connection to the paintings. I think most artists have that element of themselves in the work and it’s something that is not universally understood by the public. I really like the use of scrapbooking and projection too.
    As an artist and an ex-smoker, it was hard to watch this beautiful young woman artist hurting her body that way. I hope she quits soon so that she can continue to work for many, many years.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  14. I really like the idea that her paintings say what her words can not. I can relate to that. I also appreciate the way she share about her difficulty in making connections with other people and how that may be related to growing up with a twin who she had such a natural, deep connection with that may have made it some how more difficult to make that bond with others.

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  15. Greg says:

    Cut the reggae, she is like the puff daddy of cartoon sampling in paintings

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  16. Punk Toad says:

    Jamain’s work has the psychedelic feel of Sally Cruikshank

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  17. Dadie says:

    I like the diversity of artists that ART21 shows. I just wish I didn’t have to edit everything to show it to students. I think we need to be feeding more ART21 to these young minds but, I have to conform to board policy. Please ART21 and PBS make a DVD of contemporary artists and practices that’s school appropriate. There are so many inspirational artists and I would love to show more of them!

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  18. Deb Haugen says:

    One of the purposes of Art 21 is to show real artists at work in their studios. Now this artist happens to smoke when she is at work, I use to also……..until I had a brain aneurysm that almost killed me.
    It’s not Art 21’s position to say well this artist is fat, this one smokes, this guy is rude, etc. They are just showing artists….period. I’m glad they don’t judge or edit out what they think artists shouldn’t do or say or look like.

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  19. JJV says:

    god, painting is easy

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  20. YES! I feel the exact same way about my friend Art. Such a delicious video and insight into her work. Great that video is not so edited and cleansed up, so is an inaccurate portrayal of the artist.
    Well done Art 21, yeahahahahahahahah!

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  21. ogando says:

    Loved this! Beautiful way to meet the artist behind the work and her thoughts on communicating through images. Thank you Jamian

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  22. JON WOLTER says:

    WICKED jam 🙂

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