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About Julie

Artist Statement

"My work is a visual representation of my experiences growing up and living in the Midwest. My paintings are representative of the simple, subtle, honest and desolate landscapes found throughout our cities, suburbs, farmlands, waterways and forests. In addition, I have found that the characteristics of our landscapes are reflected within the people residing in the Midwest.  Ultimately, my work pulls on my experiences traveling throughout our wilderness areas, residing and working within our urban landscapes, shaping my own socio-political viewpoints that are expressed within the content of my artwork.  My work discusses the concerns I have as a Midwestern resident such as urban sprawl, white flight, racism, classism and our increasing  individual disconnection from the greater community.

My work is made in a simple manner. All works are created first with recycled torn paper, glued together, drawn upon and then painted with either watercolor or acrylic paints.  Using the images, patterns and colors found in my daily surroundings creates the final pieces."

-Julie Koenke

Biography

I am a fifth generation Wisconsite.  Born in Milwaukee and raised in the north side suburb, Brown Deer. My artwork and life has been shaped by three distinct experiences:

  • At an early age I was exposed to and encouraged to explore the beaches, forests, and waterways surrounding the Milwaukee area and in Northern Wisconsin.

  • Simultaneously, a result of being raised in Milwaukee County (one of the most segregated cities in the United States of America) and attending a chapter 220 (bussing integration program) school district I was exposed to the subtle and not so subtle issues associated with race and class, specifically between whites and blacks.
  • In addition, as a child and young adult I struggled greatly with a variety of health issues, resulting in vast amounts of times spent in doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and hospitals. My experiences lead to cynicism, distrust and becoming disenfranchised with the medical community.

Upon graduating from high school, I attended college at UW-Stevens Point majoring in fine art. This is where I learned how to create a visual language to express my life experiences.  After graduating from UW-Stevens Point I moved to Waialua, Hawaii to teach art and outdoor education. A year later I returned to Wisconsin settling in Madison, Wisconsin where I currently work with Madison School & Community Recreation, a department of the Madison Metropolitan School District. My daily work focuses on the issues of youth development, education, race and class. My artwork continues to grow and change dependent on my life experiences.

Resume (PDF)

 

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