Arts Galleries

Cover Artist: Julie Wilmot

Blue Caviar. Julie Wilmot, artist

By Gina Malone

Julie Wilmot is fortunate that the parents who adopted her as an infant took to heart the information they were given about members of her birth family—that they were creative. “Having that information, my parents nurtured my creative spirit,” says Wilmot. They enrolled her in summer art day camp programs, supported her when she took art classes in junior high and high school and encouraged her to train musically as well. “My voice was my musical instrument,” Wilmot says, “and all throughout junior high, high school and college I had a great fondness for participating in musical performance and dance.”

Blooming Good Time. Julie Wilmot, artist

While enrolled at The University of Texas in Austin, she put aside art classes, however, graduating with a B.S. in communication and leadership. After college, she began working in advertising in Dallas, her job entailing public relations, marketing, promotions and large-scale event planning. After five years, she began working as a volunteer, chairing a large charity event that raised funds for the Dallas Museum of Art, Sammons Cancer Center and other organizations, until her children came along, after which she took on leadership roles at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, a Dallas church of 5,000 members.

“My oldest son was diagnosed with a developmental delay when he was four years old,” Wilmot says. “That journey in parenting took me into the world of consulting with families raising children with special needs, which then led to becoming the admissions and marketing director at a Dallas private school for children with developmental delays. I consulted with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to help establish a Special Needs Initiative and eventually became the project director for a grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. Other than doing graphic art as part of my job, I wasn’t actively involved in art.”

Almost four years ago, her husband Phil retired and the couple moved to Western North Carolina, where Wilmot says, “I started to rekindle my love of art. A friend suggested I experiment with alcohol ink, and I did. It’s been my way of expressing my creativity ever since.”

Along the Sunshine Highway. Julie Wilmot, artist

She likes working with alcohol ink for the give-and-take between medium and artist. “Every experience is an experiment that requires me allowing the ink to do its thing while I try to do mine,” she says. “It’s a process of collaboration and cooperation, and for a self-proclaimed control freak, alcohol ink has taught me to let go.” Sometimes she will approach the paper with a piece in mind, but usually the alcohol ink will take her in another direction. “So, I compromise,” she says, “and it typically ends up much better than I had envisioned.”

To dilute, blend and manipulate the alcohol inks, Wilmot uses isopropyl alcohol in dropper bottles, spray bottles and fine needle-tip bottles as well as hair dryers, an airbrush and straws. “Sometimes I’ll use a paintbrush to achieve certain effects,” she says, “but for the most part I rely on moving air to manipulate the alcohol ink.” The final step is sealing the work with spray varnish. Besides special papers from India used in her work, she has also applied alcohol ink to glass tabletops, plates, ceramic tile and glass ornaments.

Emerging. Julie Wilmot, artist

The Wilmots opened Art on 7th, a contemporary fine art gallery in Hendersonville’s Historic 7th Avenue District in November. “We have award-winning artists who have sold work all over the world,” Wilmot says, “and also some emerging artists whose work deserves the exposure gained by being in our gallery.” Wilmot displays her work in the gallery as well.

“Creating work with alcohol ink is very therapeutic,” Wilmot says. “Watching the ink blend and move is much like watching a lava lamp. It soothes the soul and brings about a sense of calm.”

Julie Wilmot’s work is sold exclusively at Art on 7th, located in the Historic 7th Avenue District near the intersection of Grove and 7th Avenue. To learn more, visit Arton7th.com, call 828.595.9232 or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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