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Interview! A quick chat with artist Julia Heglund

Poketo welcomes Julia Sonmi Heglund! She is a force to be reckoned with. Her art is grotesque, bizarre, beautiful, but she also loves dogs, likes spaghetti, and has a wedding in the works! In celebration of her newest t-shirt and wallet release, we conducted an interview with her. So take a peek inside the mysterious mind of Julia Heglund!

Can you tell us a little bit about you t-shirt and wallet design?
My t-shirt is a play between real and fake animals, but also is able to utilize geometry and angles, which I love so much, through the interpretation of the paper cranes. Friendship bracelets are so nostalgic and precious, and can also make for fun design elements because of their crazy color schemes and patterns.

A unique characteristic of Madison, Wisconsin that is hard to find elsewhere is ________________.
There’s apparently a taxidermy museum underneath a funeral home here. The Oscar Mayer plant is also here, so it’s not uncommon to see a caravan of weinermobiles during rush hour.

What would your ideal Sunday afternoon consist of?
Fixing a nice dinner that we can enjoy in the sun, and going grocery shopping. I really like grocery shopping with my fiancé. Finding good deals and dreaming about the upcoming week’s meals… (I really like food). Though, once I went to the grocery store and found odd piñata versions of myself, instead.

What is one thing that non-graphic designers/ illustrators should know about your profession?
The amount of money you can make for a piece of art can really vary, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Many of your pieces (i.e. Unseeing, Sherbert Pal, and Axis of Weevil) are grotesquely decapitated in one way or another, but then reveal beautifully colored innards.  Can you explain the themes around these pieces?  What do the bright colors represent?
The first design I did in this style was Sherbert Pal a few years ago. Sometimes I get random imagery in my head that I think might translate well on paper (or on a computer). I thought this combination of rendered imagery versus graphic colored rings ended up working well, so I experimented with it a bit more. Any meaning for the bright colors would be one I’m making up on the spot! It just helps to balance the outside image, and to hopefully create intrigue.

What is one thing you can express through your art that you can’t otherwise?
I guess a side to my sense of humor. I couldn’t really verbally articulate how a mashup of Fred Flintstone and Tweety Bird could be amusing.

Was there a particular piece of creative work from your childhood that you still remember and are proud of?
Absolutely. It’s a drawing of a rabbit parade with rabbits of all trades. I drew it in 1990 (age 7), and very distinctly remember drawing it on my kitchen table during the evening. It ended up making its rounds and being xeroxed and mailed to all our relatives.

A lot of your pieces take us to another world—some grotesque, some bizarre, some too beautiful to exist in real life.  How are all of these environments related to each other, and are they attempts at escaping reality? or confronting it?
It’s sort of confronting it. Showing other ways in which familiar objects can be viewed alone or in conjunction with other objects. I just hope to conjure some response from the viewer, even if it’s usually confusion.

Lastly, are there any upcoming projects in the works that you can share with us?
T-shirts and album art here and there. I’m trying not to invest in too many lengthy projects right now since I have a June 5th wedding to plan!!

Julia and Angie discover they are identical wallets twins at Comic-Con 2008!i

Thanks for the interview Julia! We hope you have a beautiful wedding!


Check out her Poketo t-shirt and wallet here.
Visit Julia’s official website here.

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