Today we get to sit down with Juli Badics to learn a little bit more about her and her art! Juli is a Hungarian American artist and illustrator who we’ve had the privilege of hosting here at Generator as our most recent Artist-In-Residence. Juli’s residency is coming to an end, and it has been wonderful watching her explore mixing paint and embroidery, and utilizing this space to create larger works. Juli is just getting going and we look forward to following her in the future. So… without further ado, let’s turn things over to Juli.
Are you from Vermont? If not… What brought you here?
Both of my parents moved to the United States in the early 1990s and raised my two older sisters and I in the suburbs of Massachusetts near Boston. We spent most summers in Hungary visiting family and friends and staying with our extended family in both Budapest and Ajka. In 2008 we moved to Hungary for a year so that my parents could show us what it was like to grow up there for a little while. College brought me here as I graduated from the University of Vermont in 2021 with a double major in anthropology and studio art and have kicked around here ever since.
How would you describe your art? Is your style something that came easily to you, or was it something you had to work to discover?
Hmm describing my own art… that’s a tough question. It’s always been something that has kind of naturally flown out of me and has changed through experimentation and explorations of different mediums over time. I’ve worked with printmaking, painting, drawing, illustration, clay, and fibers as a way to constantly pursue new elements in my work. I am a firm believer that each artistic medium informs one another as I ebb and flow within my own creative practice. Right now, I’ve been leaning into my painting the most but my drawing and multimedia explorations have informed and altered my approach. I would say that my art centers the human perspective and hopes to capture certain emotions and atmospheres depending on the scene I’m depicting. I am intrigued by places that feel placeful– that seem to have a history and a depth to them that can only be felt through experiencing the place itself, or rather, experiencing it through its artistic interpretation. The liminal spaces that hold so much rich emotion and often sadness and quiet, those are spaces I’m drawn towards.
My more thematic work surrounds my personal experiences growing up between two cultures and observing the pressures and cultural expectations in an almost out of body way. I feel like a silent observer in the settings of my paintings, observing the untold labors of the women in my lineage behind the scenes. Capturing feelings of nostalgia, longing, and distance. Witnessing their personal identities and inner peace fade for the sake of family, men, and societal expectation. There is a bittersweet edge to some of my paintings as my relationship with my Hungarian identity has its challenges. While Hungary hosts so much beauty and tradition, and many of the nostalgic scenes are reflections of my childhood innocence, the sexism and current political state which suppresses freedoms and denies its own involvement in history creates a strong discomfort with connecting to certain elements of the culture. Being a first generation American puts you in a unique position where you can feel the divide between cultures strongly and sometimes struggle to find your own place within those differences. I hope to explore these themes further in my current and future work and am really excited about my current works in progress. I hope to capture the rich storytelling and remnants of the old-world traditions my family practiced at the backdrop of generational changes that are being witnessed with the rise of the globalized technology age and feverish state of the world. I am dedicated to pushing the boundaries of my work through experimentation, exhibition, and interdisciplinary study and am eager to thoughtfully engage with color and material relationships throughout my future work.
How did you hear about Generator’s Artist-In-Residence program?
I had a friend—Josie Bunnel—who was a past artist-in-residence and her experience gave me the push to apply!
Was there anything unique about this program that made it feel worth pursuing?
Working in an environment that supports creativity and allows for focus and experimentation was the immediate draw. Utilizing the many facilities such as the sewing studio to create experiments and mixed media works was a huge bonus to the experience. And ultimately my favorite thing was being able to connect with the people who work there day in and day out and finding a community that supports and uplifts one another.
As a Generator Artist-In-Residence, what has your experience been like?
It’s been such a joy. A real stepping stone for understanding the importance of having a dedicated space to create outside of your own home. Until now, I had only ever worked from my living room and the projects and ambitions I have were starting to outgrow my space. I hope to be a part of the generator community in the future!
How have you grown as an artist during your residency? Are there things about the community, or the tools available, that allowed you to grow in ways that might not have been possible otherwise?
I have been able to scale up my work and create larger embroidered canvases as I had hoped and being able to purchase materials that elevated my work was so exciting as well. I got a hand held rolling press which allowed me to experiment with monotypes and I have plans to incorporate that into my larger works as well. The sewing studio has been a fun experience and I have plans to continue to utilize it and hopefully stretch my own canvases which I could build in the woodshop. For now the smaller experiments have been a great way to get a feel for new tools and generating ideas.
Do you have any advice for the incoming Artist-In-Residence?
Make use of the first month to get trained up! The delays in my personal life made it a challenge to fully utilize the space until a little later in my residency and now that I am in a flow, I don’t want to leave! Take advantage of the tools in your disposal and try to push the boundaries within your work.
What’s something you haven’t explored yet but would like to?
I want to use the laser cutter and woodshop more but have been bogged down with my larger projects. I want to spend the rest of my time exploring the multimedia elements I have some ideas with. Also building a better website would be an important next step for me.
Where do you hope your art will take you? Do you hope to accomplish anything in particular with your art?
I would love to show my work in new spaces and be a part of larger conversations around the subjects of belonging, dueling cultures, and gendered work and identity. Getting connected with curators and museum collections would be the dream! I have a passion for artmaking and have certain stories I’d like to tell through my work, and I am looking forward to finding my audience in the future and connecting with people on the human experience.
Do you have any advice for upcoming artists?
Everyone has their own process and experience in this program so lean into what feels right at the moment. Be ambitious– apply to everything and don’t let the fear of failure disway you from trying. That is ultimately the beauty in art, that everyone is simply trying their best to capture something intangible.