UBC Kinesiology graduate-turned-artist Julie Van Oyen opened up to the HCUBC team about her experience in this year’s Eastside Culture Crawl. “You can definitely tell from my art that I’ve spent a lot of time with anatomy and physiology textbooks,” says Julie. Now a student at Emily Car University, Julie is currently studying fine arts and hopes to complete her Master’s degree. As a fabricator at MakerLabs, which is a makerspace in Vancouver that provides tools, space, and skills to make almost anything, this will be Julie’s first year participating in the Crawl. It is definitely rare to meet someone as multi-talented as Julie, so let’s get to know her a little better and hear about her experience at the Eastside Culture Crawl.
The Eastside Culture Crawl is an annual 4-day visual arts festival in November where artists on Vancouver’s Eastside open their studios to the public. The event is focused on the area bounded by Main St., 1st Ave., Victoria Drive, and Waterfront, and involves painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers; from emerging artists to those internationally established. “The Crawl’s mandate to advance education about the appreciation for the arts contributes wonderfully to the open-sourced movement; art and its process should take place out in the open, with an opportunity for everyone to learn, in order to build community,” Julie expands. Although this is her first year participating as an artist in the Crawl, Julie has been creating art her whole life. Now that MakerLabs has moved to Strathcona, herself and the other artists who work there are able to participate in the wonderful event.
Pyrography: the art or technique of decorating wood or leather by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point
The Eastside Culture Crawl officially began in 1997, with 45 visual artists, in 3 Strathcona area studio buildings, and was attended by a few hundred people. Since that time, the event has grown to include over 400 artists, craftspeople, and designers attracting, an audience of more than 25,000. The organization itself has evolved to represent the heart of the East Van creative community. “An event like the Eastside Culture Crawl is vital to the local artist community,” said Julie. As you can imagine, the Crawl creates an unprecedented link between the public and artists, and gives people the rare opportunity to have complete access to many local studios. As Julie states, “another amazing part of the Crawl has been the experience of seeing how it strengthens the MakerLabs community itself, helping each other prepare, explore, and build relationships through the event.” Julie was especially excited to have the chance to watch all of her fellow makers in MakerLabs present their work to the public. In particular, she recommended checking out the studios of Mergatroid and Shrapnel Designs, who happen to be two of her close friends.
Photos of Julie’s pyrography
We would also recommend checking out Julie’s work. “I’m really excited to be part of the Learning to Crawl Preview show at the Firehall Arts Centre,” says Julie, which is showing until December 5th. Julie’s art involves wood burning onto raw and reclaimed wood, primarily subjects inspired by nature or macabre vintage medical illustrations. “I’ve also taught woodburning, as well as other orientations, at MakerLabs and continue to do so.” A few of her other pursuits include pen, ink, and graphite illustrations, as well as custom fabrication projects using laser cutters and CNC routers. “I am also working on two illustrations at the Telus World of Science through MakerLabs,” which Julie also said will be unveiled in early 2016.
More of Julie’s pyrography here
Julie’s incredible career has not only brought her much joy and success but has provided the world with beautiful art, which is ever-evolving. In 5 years, Julie would love to be working with MakerLabs and continuing to work on her pyrography. Not only is she driven to complete her career as a student, she hopes to some day create a career of her own. “I have a pet project stretch goal of building a mobile makerspace in an old mailtruck,” she says. “Stay tuned!”