One eighth of the narrative

DATE: 2017.9.30 - 2017.11.10
ARTIST: Julia Long

Tabula Rasa Gallery is pleased to present solo exhibition of Julia Long: “One eighth of the narratives” on Sep. 30th, 2017. This is Julia Long’s first solo exhibition in Beijing, it will showcase her art works in the past three years. The exhibition will continue until Nov. 10th, 2017. Meanwhile, the art merchandise based on Julia Long's creation will be on sale.

It is hard to define Julia Long with single identity, she is an artist, columnist, restaurant PR, podcast host, she can easily interchange among jobs, just like her drawings, effortless and comfy. Julia likes to post photos and write comments on weibo and Instagram, over the past few years, she has earned many loyal fans. Majority of the art works is based on her photography, it captures an action moment in a story. Majored in American history in University, Julia Long has never attended any art school. However, growing up in an artist family, it comes so naturally to her to create art.

Julia Long (b.1984, Chong Qing, China), currently living in New York and Beijing. Graduated with a master degree in University of Georgia, majored in America history. Since 2009, Julia Long regularly writes for Life Week, Wall Street Journal China, and Life Magazine. 2014, she held first solo exhibition in UNdefine Shanghai. 2017, solo exhibition One eighth of the narratives in Tabula Rasa Gallery. Julia Long currently hosts two podcasts, Pop dispatch and Culture potato. Julia Long is also a member of society of illustrators(U.S.).

Artist Statement: Iceberg Above the Water

The works in this show are completed from 2015 to present, a few of them dated further back to the time when I was studying history in Georgia.

To me, drawing is an essential routine, it is something I do every day since I was three, and I never got bored with. My parents and grandparents have all worked at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, and I grew up there untill late in my adolescent years. But I never went to art school and even until now, I could not imagine an alternative life as a professional artist. I want to keep drawing as a routine, and just like that, through drawing I document some part of my experience and express certain amount of my emotions. The freedom I am seekingis beyond creating or practicing art, but the capability of doing other things that fascinate me, challenge me, and inspire me. At this moment, I am lucky enough to have this freedom to do what I truly love.

My definition of a balanced life is a life of continuing creation, during which I have a good amount of time to read, write and draw. And hopefully, in the best scenario, myprofessional life will be related to all these daily essentials. Over the years, I have welcomed the constant changes in my life, people come and go, one job after another, one project after another, and one city after another.

I never felt a sense of endeavor to create art. As a routine, drawing and painting are the most relaxing of all recreational pursuits. Paper and canvas are my playground, and I enjoy doing whatever I like on the playground. If there is no enough time to draw to keep the balance of my life, I will play more, which means I will draw more.

When I play too much, I read. I spent eight years of my adult life studying history, with the focus on gender history in America. History, at least from what I’ve learnt all these years, is a rigorous narrative created based on analysis of sources. Writing academic history is a sophisticated craft of creating a narrative that is both intriguing and deprived of emotions. As a legacy of this experience, I still prefer reading non-fiction and history books rather than reading fiction, and I always avoid excessive expression of emotions and overtly dramatic plots. But sometimes, when some scenes and plots from history books fascinate me, I will illustrate them. It was plausible that the drawings I have completedduring my time in Georgia was to balance my demanding academic life, but rather, it is just an initiation to draw, to document those unforgettable moments and people.

Drawing is also a narrative, more random and expressive than history. My drawings and paintings are anecdotal episodes of my personal history. I take pictures with my iPhone, and I always warn friends who intended to follow my Instagram of the huge amount of updates they may face. But what I choose to post, even often times subconsciously, is after careful consideration; and what I choose to draw is the result of another round ofintuitive yet strict screening. But I am not the kind of people who over-share lives. Here you see these works, most of them present a rather light-hearted mood and document various kinds of mesmerizing moments, but I finished a few of them while I was quite upset, maybe that is the result of my long time preference for restraint expression of emotions. I now realized that happinessis overrated, and the key to a life of continue creation is to maintain a stable mood for that life.

Hemingway coinedthe Iceberg Theory (Theory of Omission), that he believes that “a writer may omit things and the reader, if a writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of things as strongly as though the writer hasstated them”. It is like maintaining the dignity of the movement of aniceberg, only one-eighth of it being above water. Similar to our life stories, most people only see the results, but only a few will understand the stories untold. What I document and express in my drawings, are only the part of my own iceberg above the water, and I believe this one eighth of the narrative is enough to show you part of my story.