Julia Kuo is a Taiwanese-American illustrator currently living in Chicago. She has been an artist-in-residence twice at the Banff Arts Centre, illustrated a dozen books, and worked with clients such as the New York Times, Fendi, and Simon & Schuster. Her favorite pastimes are climbing, hiking, and dreaming about summiting faraway mountains.
Kuo is one of the participating artists for the ON/OFF Grid art exhibition (April 6 - June 3) at the Gene Siskel Film Center in conjunction with the FAAIM 23rd Annual Asian American Showcase, 2018. We asked her a few questions about her work and artistic practice!
Does your identity or personal story inform your work? Who/what inspires you?
I'm inspired by people who climb mountains and who study nature, because I would have liked to do those things in another lifetime. But the nice thing about illustration is that I can use this medium to live vicariously through others or even to relive my own experiences. Either way, the end product becomes a way for me to share my interests with others! So I bring my sketchbook along with me wherever I go, and I've also started to make a few bigger pieces about my climbing and hiking trips.
What do you think about AI?
I love reading and watching stories about AI. It’s easy to separate real life from shows and movies like Westworld and Ex Machina, but I’m a little nervous that we’ll be living in Black Mirror soon. My Alexa has been acting a little strange recently…
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on a collection of paintings on Bioluminescence for a gallery show at Light Grey Art Lab, opening later this spring! It’ll be the first solo show for Meet Us in the Woods, my collaboration with fellow illustrator and friend Emily Dove.
Check out Julia and Emily's show at Light Grey Art Lab coming up next weekend!:
Meet Us in the Woods is a creative partnership between illustrators Julia Kuo and Emily Dove. They have been sharing their love for the environment through writing and drawing, most recently as artists in residence in Banff National Park.
Bioluminescence is the first solo show by Meet Us in the Woods. Collectively, the duo has kayaked among dinoflagellates in the Bay Area, held foxfire in Taiwan, and gazed up at glowworms in New Zealand. Julia’s video piece and paintings explore the magic and delight of witnessing the first bioluminescent sparkles in the darkness, while Emily’s silk-screened pieces highlight several of the curious life forms responsible for the surreal glow.