We are proud to highlight the work of Julian Tejera on the cover of our 2nd issue!
Born and raised in New Jersey, Julian Tejera has seldom gone a day without pencil in hand. Receiving his BFA in illustration from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2008, he worked as a freelance and portrait artist for a number of years. While working at the Montclair Art Museum Julian discovered a passion for teaching, leading to the start of a career as a sought after art instructor for teens and adults in his home state. The decision to pursue a master’s degree came from wanting to push his artistic vision as well as a desire to grow as an educator, and so he attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, graduating in 2015 with an MFA in painting. Currently he remains a full time art educator and artist, inspiring students and continuing to push himself artistically.
Over the years I have switched gears quite often. From fantasy illustration to portraiture to genre painting and more, the one consistent thread has been my love of the figure. The rainbow of possible color combinations that comprise flesh; the language of the body as it appears at first in one way, but says something else entirely; the visible history on the skin; the nuanced emotions in the eyes… there is no end to my fascination with people. Willem de Kooning said “Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented,” a curious sentiment from the great abstract expressionist painter. But he was right. My current interest lies in painting people not for the sake of holding onto anachronistic ideals of what realistic painting needs to be, but instead as a means to explore what I can do with paint while maintaining my reality.
Every canvas or panel I paint is an act of curiosity, making it difficult to define a consistent style. My interest in abstract artwork lies in its ability to tap into the viewer’s subconscious in a way that is lacking in traditional representation, allowing them to participate actively with the work of art. Conversely, realism provides me the opportunity to connect empathically with the viewer. This is not an original thought and I claim no ownership over it, but I do see myself as part of a visual language that continues developing where both philosophies are finding common ground. I am indebted to the artists who have come before me, as well as to my teachers, directly in school and indirectly through the easy access of social media, for opening doors to ideas and possibilities. While I may not be known by my style, I do hope to be known by my authenticity in every artwork I produce.