An Interview with Julianna Kardish

Interview by Nicole Araya
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The combination of different elements, including the tiger, the faceless woman, the bare feet, and the stratus clouds, creates an extraordinary scene. Where did the inspiration of the painting come from?

At the time, I had been reading a lot about Surrealism and studying Salvador Dali. Up until this point in 2016, most of my works had been done by practicing realism, so I wanted to challenge myself to reject rationality. I was interested in escaping the idea that time was linear. This bizarre combination of elements was to disorient the viewer so that she would have no sense of the narrative occurring, no information about the start or finish of the bike rider's journey. Instead the viewer should just see the scene as it is existing.

The scene appears to take place in a surreal desert with rock formations in the distance. Is the landscape where Journey takes place real or imagined? How did you develop this landscape? The ground is very barren and appears to have little texture, foliage, or color variance. Can you talk a bit about your decision to make the surface of the ground so smooth and uniform?

The landscape of Journey is imagined; however, it was inspired by the natural rock formations and desert scenes of Arizona. When I created this painting, I had just returned home after visiting my older sister living in Arizona, where I felt both overwhelmed and embraced by the open environment. By minimizing details and textures of the surroundings in my painting, I wanted to portray this odd blend of comfort and claustrophobia created from negative space.

The inclusion of a bicycle in the image is very unexpected in the context of the environment. Is the woman moving or traveling somewhere? If so, to where? How does the bike factor into this mobility or stasis?

The woman is traveling on her bike. Eventually, she will reach new destinations. However, there is no final destination in mind. She simply just moves through time in space. The unexpectedness of her presence in an environment like this is meant to highlight the obscurity of her journey of escaping, of arriving, of passing through and moving on.

* The woman’s pose is very distinctive and emotive. Is the figure modeled after a real person or did you create it from your imagination?*

The woman came from my imagination. I am not sure, but I think she was meant to represent the viewer. I chose to leave an opening for her head, almost like those wooden "face-in-a-hole" props at carnivals. Because this journey has no sense of linear time or space, I wanted the viewer to feel as though she could pop in and out this scene at any moment. The hole simply allows the viewer a point of access, a window into the painting.

What is the tiger’s name?