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Artist Spotlight: Julia Herceg

The illustration is drawn with Copic markers and catches the eye at first glance. The hot pink background paired with the brutishly beautiful girl makes one stop and wonder. The woman is holding a mascara wand in one hand near her eye, her right eye popped out of the socket, hanging by the lateral rectus muscle. The girl’s eyes have dark circles around them and in parts of her face she is yellowish and appears to be bruised. Looking at the girl’s body, her bones are clearly visible and the jacket that covers her chest is yellowed, but has some interesting pins attached to it. Two pins hang on the right shoulder — a tube of lipstick and an icon commonly used to as a universal sign for “women”. On the left side of the jacket are three more pins, the first one being a women’s body with a tape measure wrapped around her waist. The next pin is a bright pink bra and the last pin is a bright pink high heel.

The scene screams of suffering and makes one think about feminist themes of struggle, identity and control.

Control is a consistent theme in artist Julia Herceg artwork.  Herceg bases her artwork on people she “create[s]… in her head.” Doing so “gives her more control”and feels more realistic to her because she’s able to assign personalities, bodies, and  faces to her subjects, since she created them.

Julia describes her medium as “stylized illustration.” Herceg primarily uses Copic markers to create images that pop with vivid colors . Her artwork can be seen around the school and the hallway in the art wing of the school.

Julia has taken art classes through the district since the beginning of middle school, and she caught the eye of a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan who saw her work at her grandmother’s store in the city.

“Every Saturday from seventh grade to 10th grade, I went to FIT,” she said, adding that the college level courses helped “transform [her] style.”

“FIT was a really big step in my art career. I was a middle schooler in a high school art class setting.”

Julia was able to explore the different types of potential, art-based careers at FIT and developed a portfolio that can be seen on the FIT website.

“I want to do something art related in college,” says Herceg. “I’ve always done art and I enjoy it but I definitely don’t want to ‘burn out’ and make myself not like it with such a demanding job where I need to do things a certain way that isn’t my own.”

Although Julia did a lot of exploration through her years, she is still unsure of the path she will choose to take that will let her focus on her art career.

“I don’t want to be in a social atmosphere that is completely art related. I want to be able to do my art and also focus on my academics in college.”

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