in partnership
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(Image courtesy of Juliette Aristide).

Artist of the Week: Juliette Aristides

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I started making art at 17 and have now been creating for decades. My primary medium is oil painting and charcoal drawing. I also create with words—my fifth and sixth books are being released in April & September 2019. Beginning Drawing Atelier offers a comprehensive and contemporary twist on traditional art instruction practices coming out April 16th, 2019.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My artistic process is slow because an idea can percolate over a period of years while I am working on other things. Gradually, if my thoughts have merit, they move from background to foreground until I explore them in a body of work. I try not to rush the formation of new work but let it gradually take shape. Technically speaking, the oil paintings begin with a preliminary drawing before moving on to an underpainting and several passes of paint to finish. The drawings, are all charcoal on toned paper using broad washes of tone, and later, rendered and heightened with white.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
Primarily from observation of the world around me. I enjoy the unmediated experience of looking directly at my subject without the use of photography. During the development of a piece- the changing of light, the movement of the model, the wilting and replacing of flowers become a collaboration and an encounter that captures movement over time.

Lately, I have found great beauty in everyday life, teacups and hallways, just things just as they are, and that I would miss if they were gone.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I am part of a slow art movement; the majority of my work is a love affair with tradition centered mainly around the human figure. In our culture, we don’t have a non-sexual way to appreciate our bodies, in antiquity the figure represented many of our best ideas and impulses. I love to celebrate the intellect and physicality of the human form.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
A piece of art that I will never sell is a large painting of my three children. In the painting, they are sitting on a country road in the countryside of Pennsylvania where I grew up. Black and white photographs from my childhood are scattered on the road- the children are placed on the cross section between my past and present.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I am the director of the Aristides Atelier at the Gage Academy of Art. My students and I have created an artistic monastery, of sorts, in which to pursue observational drawing and painting along with our own vision. This Atelier community is a constant in my life and continually inspire and challenge my art. The Classical tradition is a framework to link the best of past art with a relevant vision for our times.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I will be auctioning off my painting, Marlow, at Gage’s Spring Art Auction & Gala on Friday, April 12th. I’ll also be signing advanced copies of Beginning Drawing Atelier at the event too. Besides that, you can visit Gage’s website:, my own website, and follow me on Instagram at @juliettearistides.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I have a solo show Still life & Interior opening up at LeQuire Gallery in Nashville April 26th- June 22nd and the release of my next book: Beginning Drawing Atelier, an instructional sketchbook in the art of drawing. I am gearing up to review fall applications to the Aristides Atelier at Gage Art Academy. In January, it will be the 20th anniversary of the program- the first Atelier in the Northwest!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Great question! Black.