My name is Juliann Flora. Orcalove is a compilation of my creative projects. You will find an array of my art on this page and hopefully learn about how I see the world. I hope some of my creativity will spark creativity in you. If you would like to work together, please reach out through my contact page.
Starts with my environment
In March 2020 I moved to Thompson Pass near Valdez, AK to work at a Heli Ski lodge. I took whatever job I could get in hopes to get on a heli to ski (which did happen and it was incredible). Shortly after I arrived, COVID19 took place and I was soon in quarantine up on the pass from March-May 1, living in a yurt with 6 other girls. In May, I left Valdez, moved to Girdwood, I bought the cheapest vehicle I could find and since then, have had many adventures of camping in my Jeep and finding inspiration wherever I go. This is where the whale drawing began:
I was walking in Homer, AK and passed a shop with a humpback whale theme. It made me think about summer of 2019 when I was a whale watching guide and photography guide in Juneau, AK. I missed the humpbacks so badly that I positioned myself in my Jeep for the night and looked out at the water thinking about all the humpbacks below the surface.
The hardest part
Quickly I knew I wanted to draw a whale, but the creative fight is very REAL. How will I ever begin?? I started googling images online of humpbacks on my phone. I got one I liked and wanted to base my image off of, but still, I had to be the one to bring the pencil to paper. I say this is the hardest part, because it is. It is incredibly difficult for me to make those first lines with a pencil. I think this is why being outdoors in a beautiful place helps, because if the whole picture doesn't go well, it doesn't matter. I am enjoying the process, I am enjoying the moment.
Usually when I start the drawing I feel like a complete fool. It looks so silly and cartoonish and not at all what I am hoping for. I wonder how in the world I am going to get from a few scribbles to a detailed real life experience for the viewer. What I do is I focus on one part of the animal, usually the part I want to be sure to get right. For the whale, it was the eye. I get VERY focused on the eye and make sure it looks as intense as it is in real life. A successful eye like this is what gets the detail ball rolling for me...
The flexible adventure
I mentioned the environment was important right? Well, what happens when I go to sleep with the whale drawing unfinished and I wake up and it is pouring rain and I cannot recreate that magical environment that I had the night before? I go on an adventure. I find a new special place. This here is a photo of me finding shelter from the rain in a log hut on the beach in Homer hoping to find that creative flow again...
The wrestle with flow
Okay, so I found a new beautiful environment, and I begin to focus in, but why does it not feel like the night before? Well, that is because it is a different moment and the flow will feel just a little different, or possibly not as strong. Flow is a special thing. It is those moments that don't feel like moments but feel like gifts from the universe. To me it is feeling magic, like I am able to touch stars or slide down a rainbow. Truly, that is how amazing creative flow feels to me. Shortly after this photo was taken the rain started pouring down. I decided the universe was telling me to move on, to trust the magical flow would come again.
Readjusting to roofs
Often I start my work outside in the sun and out of service, only to realize if I am going to finish the piece, I will need to find a flow and rhythm indoors and in civilization again... even if it is in a car or a plane. All of those things have roofs and walls and in a lot of ways make me feel confined, more anxious and eager to run for the hills, literally. I will pace around my kitchen, rummage through old art pieces, set up my place differently every day or two. I will genuinely get distracted every 10 minutes. Phone, social media, building this website... you name it. What I find works for me is music. It is the only thing that allows me to access the infinite like being outside does. That, and a good hearty sleep deprivation. I generally will work through the night, with just me, the music and the drawing. As nights pass, more detail takes hold and the music keeps playing until eventually, I feel ready to sleep normally again. No piece is ever done. Signing my name in general feels too final. But I do it so that I can make room for the next journey to create.
About the Artist
Art School Drop out.
Lover of orcas.
I have a degree in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I left corporate world in 2018 to be a full time student of the world. I decided rather than art school (which I did in fact drop out of) or any semblance of normalcy, why not pursue opening my mind through experiences counter to what American culture may recommend? I love orcas because they remind me that there has to be so much more going on on this earth than I can comprehend.
My grandma (also my hero) was a full time artist. She put all 5 of her kids through college by painting day and night. She is my inspiration. My dream is to support myself through art so that I can continue to seek out the lessons the world wants to teach me. I currently live in Girdwood, Alaska with my best friend and pup, Simba.
PO Box 237, Girdwood, AK 99587
One of my favorite things is giving people a personalized piece of art that means something to them. If you have something on your heart that you would like to see made into art, please reach out and I will do my best to make it come alive. My prices for commissioned work include a framed original and shipping directly to you.