Nestled in St. Louis’s beautiful South Hampton neighborhood, Julie Malone’s studio overflows with color, imagination and paintings in process. Vibrant pieces from the Personal Hotspots series 2018, Malone’s collection for this year, line the walls, each with their own surprise.
Malone considers herself a colorist, using the rich hues of oil paint to create paintings with a new level of dimension, depth and colorplay. Each eye-catching painting can be looked at through a pair of special 3-D glasses, creating a new, holographic version. “I create this through putting certain colors next to each other,” Malone explains. “It really started as one of my thought bubbles put into action.”
Before she found her success in the art world, Malone’s love for painting started in high school. She began with watercolor and didn’t find her niche medium until going into college. “Watercolor taught me the rules of how to control color and paint, but oil paint had the richer, heavier pigments that I learned to love,” she says.
After Malone was laid off from her laminate design job in 2000, she found her big break in the local Houska Gallery. Over the past 18 years, Julie has created entirely hand-made pieces on wood and also makes specialized pieces for companies all over the country. She even has work overseas, but she explains that her next goal is to become an international artist.
In the past decade, Malone’s work has developed into something of a great value. She’s sold several thousand paintings and has created at least one painting a day for two years. Malone currently works for a company that uses her paintings in 12 locations across the United States. With all of these paintings being produced, one could wonder where she gets her inspiration. “With every painting, I try to show my audience that there is beauty all around us in our world, even when things seem horrible,” she explains.
To bring the world’s beauty into her work, Julie focuses mainly on natural inspiration. Many of her paintings contain the colors of both sunsets and water, while some are focused more on atmosphere. These inspirations are what make her compositions so honest and organic. “Once I build the frame and prime the surface, I begin with my first wash. I use gravity to pull the paint, creating a drip that will steer me in the direction I want to go for the rest of the painting,” Julie says of the process.
She usually has about eight pieces in progress at a time, she explains, with a variety of clients who all crave unique creations for their space. After the initial drip, she uses expressionism to drive her to the painting’s final product. Often, a painting’s composition depends on her mood or the world around her. “I’ve had to learn over the years when a piece is finished. If I don’t, they’ll hang around too long, and I’ll end up changing them.”
Julie has recently entered a transitional period, focusing now on expanding her current studio space and eventually repurposing what used to be her gallery. She’ll release more details on this switch in the future, but for now, she’s focused on making her space accommodate her growing career: “This is more than just my life, it’s also my living and the thing I love most.”
If you are interested in purchasing Malone’s work, additional information can be found through Instagram @juliemalonepaintings or by contacting her directly. Her work is also available through her personal studio as well as the Houska Gallery, where her exhibit "Chroma Glow" runs through July 14.
These paintings help create a deep and thoughtful design element to a space; that’s why Julie paints them. “I choose to remind people that there is beauty to be seen in the world,” she says.
Julie Malone, 314-497-5202