November 20, 2012

Interview with Blur Artist: Julia Aurea Stein

Julia Aurea Stein is a talented artist from Brazil who creates some of the most detailed, colourful and snappy drawings of Blur's Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn that we have seen. Many of her works feature and were inspired by musical icons including The Beatles, Peter Gabriel, various Gorillaz characters and the two main members of Blur.  

We interviewed her recently about her love of art, coffee, TV, Graham Coxon and Blur. 

'Abandon Us In Love' - Julia Aurea Stein

How did you first get into Blur ?

Oh, haha! Came across them through a bit of a random reference really! It was this friend of mine from the Genesis community (I am a fan of Genesis also) who introduced me to Blur! Round 2009 I believe, I watched Clockwork Orange for the first time and being a fan of Kubrick I loved it.

I told this one friend from the community I had seen and loved it, and so he sent me this link, and it was The Universal clip! Ta-da! Adored it and asked him right away who those were, he explained it was his favourite clip from the nineties and that he very much enjoyed Blur back then. And so that was it! I was introduced then, and from then on I got to explore and discover and love!

Why did you start drawing Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon ?

You know, that's a funny question...I’m not sure why I kept drawing them, and Graham in particular...But it was an experiment at first. Come to think of it, the first one of my "idols" that I ventured doodling was Peter Gabriel. I'd never before tried drawing The Beatles nor Joni nor any other because I never felt secure enough about my drawings to try drawing people who I admire so much...

But back in 2010, I was given a sketchbook for a university assignment to try and represent music or "sound" graphically. This was where the Coffee & TV and The Universal doodles came from! I ended up liking the results of those sketches as I was very much into Blur and Graham, especially those days when it seemed only natural that I continue doodling them. 

'Graham Doodle'
And I think I found drawing Graham fun, as I was just so exposed to so much about and on him, it came out naturally and I suppose it sort of turned into a habit, really! I grew accustomed to my style and felt comfortable drawing him, in a way.

Tell me about your style - how would you describe your art ?

Hmm, I don't know really, I've been drawing ever since I can remember! It's sort of a vital activity for me really, it's my major outlet...I've no pretensions about or with it though as well...It's just the way I express myself when I feel the urge to.

As for my style...I don't know how I could explain it much too. It has changed considerably throughout the years. As I've never had any methodological or you know, any kind of education or guidelines in terms of drawing technique and such. Sometimes I am afraid that my style and my "art" is just purely amateurish expressions, though I did acquire a certain background in university here and there...

'Damon and Graham II' 

What influenced your art ? Tell us about your biggest influences.

I believe that my parents and my musical and artistic childhood background have been the major influences in my art. Both my parents were into quite a "hippie-sh" "alternative" scenario when younger. My mother is very skilled at handicrafts, for as long as I can remember she's been drawing her mandalas and making her mobiles and kaleidoscopes; And my father is mad about music, he's like a walking encyclopaedia on almost every band from the beginning of the past century up to the early eighties. For as long as I can remember he has been playing his guitars!

As I was brought up in that atmosphere, it's only natural that reminiscences of those influences would find their way out through my own style...The thing with the patterns and arabesques and such I love to draw so much, for instance, that's something that remits to those roots and infancy imprints.  

'Coffee and TV' (top); 'Oochy Woochy' (bottom)

Your drawings are so colorful ! Do you color them by hand or by computer ?

It depends. Depends on my mood, on what I mean for the piece, as in whether it's a free piece or for a university commission. I used to colour all by hand, up until a couple of years ago when I started playing around with vectors, and I got to use them instead for colours.

I scanning the original pencil work and colour it in with vector patches. I'm keen on experimenting more with watercolour these days though. It's been long I don't use it and I used to love it as a child. Vectors are very practical, for I like plain opaque shades and vectors give the work a more defined and solid look, whereas paintbrush or colouring by hand provides a more irregular touch, which is nice too.

Damon Albarn doodles ; Graham Coxon doodles 

How long do you take to draw each piece ? It's so detailed!

Again that depends. Sometimes I get to draw some very quick sketches in less than an hour, and I am very satisfied with them. But I must say that happens rather seldom. I usually take ages for drawing. You know, when I'm in the mood and inspired,  provided I have a record playing on the background, I can and will spend the day at my desk doodling away.

To draw a piece such as the posters I drew of Blur and Graham for Coffee & TV, Bonfires and so, I take around a week or so to get done with the pencil drawings alone, and colouring them must take some good three to five days in the very least as well. It usually takes several sketches for me to get to the one composition I find acceptable. For instance, for the drawing of Graham and Damon I drew three different versions for every small picture, till I got to one I actually liked!

Damon or Graham ?

Easy: Graham all the way! No doubt.

'Bonfires' (top); 'Love Travels' (bottom)

Your favourite Blur song and album ?

Hmm, that's a bit tricky...I can't pick only one favourite! That's cruel! But for a few, some of my most beloved tunes would be: Peach, Luminous, Inertia, Oily Water, Tender, You're So Great, She's So High, Bang, Mellow Song...Agh! Too many others to be fair!  

Same for albums, can't name my one favourite. But my top three would be 13, the self-titled and Modern Life Is Rubbish, followed by Leisure!

Final words ?

Well, it's been a pleasure answering the questions for you! Thanks for contacting me and featuring my silly doodles! Cheers!  
Check out more of Julia Aurea Stein's fabulous Blur illustrations on her Flickr page (we can't get enough of this set) and on her Deviantart page. 

You can get in touch with her on twitter (@JuliaAurea)

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December 24, 2011

Graham Coxon's NME Christmas Card Design - free download

Graham Coxon from Blur has designed a festive Christmas card for NME , after the magazine requested musicians to draw them original artwork to be featured in a free downloadable card for all music fans. 

Graham's design is, as quote NME, "a grotesque dude who's just learned that he's eating turkey from now til Easter".

We think it's very much on par with his other artworks in the past... take a look and do drop a comment on our facebook page and let us know what you think ? Will you send this to your loved ones ?

Click HERE to download the card (pdf)

Source: NME 


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