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Name: Julian Farrar
Age: 42
City: Stockholm (at the moment)
Website: http://www.julianfarrar.com/

At what age did you get an interest for art?
As far back as I can remember it has always been art that has interested me. I remember doing art projects at home with my mum when I was small. At school I was not interested in any other subjects except art. In fact I drew in all of my subjects, especially math.

I did art for A level and then went to Wimbledon School of Art for my foundation year and then onto Camberwell School of Art in London for my BA. In all those years I never met one art teacher or tutor that I got on with. That sounds really bad, but it is true.
I seem to have been at odds with everyone who has tried to teach me art and what it should be. The only teacher who I respected and learned from was my History of Art teacher at A level. She was great and inspired me with artists and movements of the past. She made me realize that when I am working with ideas and techniques I am adding to a tradition that is old and rich and I need to be aware of this or else miss out on so much. She really gave me a sense of my work and a context for it.

This might sound strange but I have never enjoyed studying art. It has never sat well with me for some reason. I have always resisted people telling me what to do and how to do it. I need to learn it for myself otherwise it’s not mine. That must be why I have has so many arguments with the poor people who have tried. Even stranger then for me to become an art teacher, but I approached my teaching with this same attitude. Art is about discovery, both of oneself and the world around. One can be guided in this but ultimately it’s a personal quest.

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How would you describe your style?
I can’t really answer that question because I try very hard not do look too closely at what I do. I once filmed myself making a drawing from start to finish but I hated watching it as it did not look at all like it did for me when I was doing the drawing. It was detached and cold. I genuinely feel the best things in life cannot be described to others. My art is one of those things to me.

What inspires you?
The anatomy of shadows inspire me. That might sound strange but I get a kick from looking at the shadows within shadows and seeing how one tone blends into another. I love the relationship between lights and darks and the stories that can be told using these ingredients as a language.

There is a struggle in my drawings between light marks and dark marks. Heavy and light. Strong and weak. Positive and negative. This underlying battle is vital to the success of the piece, much more so than if it looks like it should.

In fact, my drawings are inherently abstract for me. They are made up of shapes of light and dark, not really a body. This might sounds strange given that they are highly realistic but at the start of the process, when I am looking for what works and what doesn’t, it’s about light areas and dark areas and their relationships, balance, conflict etc. This notion of abstract and figurative is an interesting one to me as these drawings are abstract for most of the time, meaning, when I am working on them, standing so close to them, I can’t see anything else other than the areaI am working on. No context at all. All that exists is that one area, in isolation, and it’s not until I stand back that I can see it in a context.

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What are you currently working on?
In am currently finishing up one series and starting another.
’Glass Jars’ is just finishing up and ‘Do Not Go Gently’ is being planned.

Glass Jars
“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.”
Salvador Dali
This body of work is about memory. Encapsulating moments and people gone.

In this series I take time to record objects. Each object relates to a specific time or event in my life. That connection is the driving force behind each drawing. Time is taken when arranging the still lives so that memories of the event can be hinted at through shadows, marks, colours and space. The glass jars are not only vehicles for preserving these objects, but the curved glass walls acts as a way of hinting at how the scrutiny of gaze and the passing of time, effects and distorts what is seen inside.

No specific titles are given in order that the viewer might be encouraged to seek their own memories within these Jars.

All the works measure 1.5 meters, but have varying widths depending on the Jar used. This is to create a continuum through the series; where each Jar can be viewed as an individual, contained unit, or as part of a whole.

‘Do Not Go Gently’, a series of large scale hand drawings that employ fast, loose, expressive marking making as a background for high detail and texture drawing. I am trying to find ways of expressing the energy that exists in us all, no matter what age we are.

What’s most important in life?
To me that is simple, my family. I have 3 gorgeous kids (aged 8, 6 and 1.5) and a wonderful wife and they will always come first in my life. It is sometimes difficult to keep the balance between creating art and being a father/husband, but I do my best.

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What art do you most identify with?
I really don’t know, to be honest. The art of most of my contemporaries does not interest me much. I am sure it should, but I find most of it inaccessible and cynical. I feel ignorant of most of it and so can’t talk with any authority about it. As an artist I live my life in a bubble. I don’t really pay attention to what is being produced around me. I am obsessed with my ideas and my work, as one must be. I work as hard as I can to keep up with the ideas in my head. Occasionally I see something that makes me stop and think but often it all just passes me by, my fault I am sure as I am not receptive. When I am looking for inspiration I usually look to the past. However I do relate closely to issues and problems of our time. The questions that drive my work forward are contemporary ones. So I feel my work relates closely to contemporary society but not so to contemporary art.

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Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
My works have come out of a simple question I asked myself a few years ago, ‘what can’t I do with drawing?’.
I am curious about the limits of drawing. That led me to drawing on this scale with such a small instrument and the challenges that come with it. Challenges but also possibilities.
I found it inspiring to be faced with such a large expanse of paper armed only with a pencil and some rubbers. All that space to express whatever you want. I don’t enjoy knowing the outcome before I have started. I enjoy being intimated by a drawing and having to do battle with it. It then becomes about the relationship that develops.

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Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Michelangelo, Bernini and Rodin.
I sometimes wonder what they would think about my work. I hope they would like it.