About

Photo of Julia Fry at Tate Liverpool positioning herself between Yayoi Kusama and Mohammed Melehi

Biography

Born: Weymouth, Dorset, UK 1971

Julia Fry experienced adverse childhood experiences resulting in trauma and PTSD in adulthood. Art was a joyous respite in childhood until she was told, “you’re not good enough to do art at ‘O’ level.” Subconsciously taking this identity level criticism on as a limiting belief, Julia immediately stopped making art, except for a drawing every now and then when she couldn’t suppress the urge. Many years later Julia unblocked her artistic creativity on an Artist’s Way course. After experimenting with colour using acrylic and mixed media, Julia found her paintings became sculptural. She decided to apply to university to study film so that she could try ‘sculpting in time’. Plagued with flashbacks from childhood trauma, Julia used her time at art school to make films about her childhood experiences. Graduating with a 2:1 in moving image, Julia was uncertain where to place herself in the art world; creating films about her childhood trauma had re-traumatised her and she mistakenly associated trauma with art. She shut down her art practice and got a job as a bus driver, which allowed her to pay for the long term psychotherapy she needed, yet could not obtain from the National Health Service. The creative urge soon pushed its way out again and Julia returned to her love of drawing and painting abstract images that reflect her coping mechanisms, feelings about the wider context, and spirituality. Julia’s images are intuitive; she loves dots and flow. She also loves interactive art exhibitions and, when lockdown is over, she intends to create interactive art experiences in non-gallery spaces. In addition to making art, she facilitates creativity as a Coach and Workshop Leader for survivors of adverse childhood experiences.

Artist Statement

When I couldn’t physically get away from those who were doing unspeakable things to me, I lost myself in an intimate connection with the detail of wood grain or the weave of fabric. Often in childhood I would escape to the wood at the back of our house.

A Silver Birch tree grew there that had three trunks growing out of a central trunk and when I stepped into the middle of these, it became my rocket ship. Inside my rocket my task was to peel pieces of papery bark, without breaking them, into identical horizontal strips. My whole being focused on this task and allowed me to not feel anything about what had been happening at home.

As a grown up, I have a compulsion for detail in my art. I have no idea whether this is linked to that intense connection and need to escape but I do know that I adore detail and repetition. You will see this in my work over and over. I also like to think about the meaning of my work once repetition and detail begin to establish themselves. As I add layers, I begin to see themes emerge reflecting internal and external influences such as my processing of childhood trauma, and my love of natural phenomena and the awe it inspires.

Another aspect of my work is creating interactive experiences that take you into another world or perspective. I love seeing adults letting go of worries and playing with childlike glee or questioning what’s part of the experience and what isn’t. When Lockdown is over I’ll invite you into non-gallery spaces to experience different perspectives with wonder.

Exhibitions and Workshops

2020 Oct Artists Responding To…, Book – 4th Edition
2020 Mar – August Flow Expression Online
2020 Feb Vision Board Wonder Workshop, Brighton
2019 Nov Dubuffet Mindful Art Workshop at Investec Wealth and Investment Bank, London
2019 Oct Mindful Movement for Climbers at High Sports, Brighton
2019 Aug Mindful Movement for Climbers at High Sports, Brighton
2019 Apr Wonderland Indoor Adventure Playground for Grown Ups at Funplex, Brighton
2019 Feb Wonderland Indoor Adventure Playground for Grown Ups at Funplex, Brighton
2018 Mind Game: overcoming irrational fear in climbing at Adur Centre, Shoreham
2018 Creating Healthy Food Habits at Vegfest, Brighton Centre, Kings Road, Brighton
2017 The Inner Resources Workshop at The Coach House, Walpole Road, Brighton
2017 The Inner Resources Workshop at my home in Brighton
2015 Singularity at University of Brighton Gallery, Grand Parade, Brighton
2014 Play in my Flat at my home in Brighton
2014 Not Punch and Judy at University of Brighton Gallery, Grand Parade, Brighton

Education

2019 Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills at Training Qualifications UK
2015 BA (Hons) Moving Image at University of Brighton
2012 Access to Humanities and Social Sciences at Varndean College, Brighton
2009 NCFE 1 Art and Design at City College Brighton and Hove
2005 Certificate in Life Coaching at Newcastle College
1988 BTEC First Diploma in Business and Finance at Grantham College
1987 English, Maths, History, Biology, French Studies at Walton Girls’ School, Grantham

Professional Development

2019 Climbing Wall Instructor Award at Mountain Training
2019 Step Up: Leading Workshops at Outside In, Brighton
2019 Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills at TQUK
2019 Working with Shame at PODS, Huntingdon
2019 Graphic Novels Real Life Stories at Phoenix Gallery, Brighton
2018 Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga 20 Hour Foundation Workshop, London
2018 Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence: Learning from Recent Research, USVreact at Sussex University, Brighton
2018 Graphic Novels Real Life Stories at Phoenix Gallery, Brighton
2006 Associate Certified Coach at International Coach Federation, London
2006 Certificate of Coaching Skills at Coaching Development Ltd, London