100 Creatives: Julie Zarate

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What She Does: Rocks Off readers may recognize Zarate from her recent campaign to help Hates front man Christian Arnheiter and his fiancé Alexis Kidd to secure a donation from Dream Rooms Furniture toward Alexis's cancer treatment, a campaign that was successful. So it was especially satisfying when Art Attack was at the Alamo Drafthouse catching Deathly Hallows Part 2 and we spied Zarate's name under a painting of Hit Girl from the movie Kick-Ass for sale. Turns out Zarate is an amazing painter specializing in oils.

Why She Likes It: Zarate likes the way painting makes her God and loves the empowerment aspect of creation. With a severe dislike of the way women were portrayed in media before shifts towards stronger models in the '70s and '80s, she uses brush and canvas to portray the idealistic and strong.

It's also, she says, a great way of getting out of other chores.

What Inspires Her: "It doesn't take much for me to be moved to want to create, it's kind of like a drug. As for inspiration, I love seeing what others are doing in their own work. Being self-taught, I learned to develop my skills by emulating others, recreating pieces from old masters.

Flirting With Disaster
"I struggled for a very long time with this, as it felt like I was stealing, and trust me, I got a lot of flak for it from others, even though I specifically would cite the references. Still, it pained me, but I did it anyway, it was the only way I found at the time to learn. I didn't have the luxury of time or money to attend art school, so learned this way. With each reproduction, I learned something new. Things I could take to my original pieces. The learning never stops, though, as I still practice this way.

"Recently, I've turned to more modern artists who work in photorealism. I still find my work portrays a certain illustrative flair to it that I want to shake off, but I'm finding it hard to do so without pushing further. The destination is fine, but I do enjoy the journey more than anything."

If Not This, Then What: During a dry spell in her art, Zarate took up writing angsty poetry as a way to keep the creative juices flowing. It was this path that brought her back to painting. She was attending the Nuestra Palabra writers' showcases at Talento Bilingue de Houston when she asked what it would take to show art on their walls. This ended with an offer to show 50 pieces and ended her writing career, though she can always return if another round of painter's block plagues her.

If Not Here, Then Where: "I can't imagine living anywhere else, to be honest. Houston is home to me, there is so much about the city and the state of Texas that I'm very proud of, it's sometimes hard to get that across to outsiders. I love that a lot of my work is collected across the globe and I seem to have established a great following in Los Angeles, where I am a resident artist at Gallery ChimMaya, a most amazing honor, but I can't see leaving this place. But if you insist on an answer, I'll go out on a limb and say San Antonio."

What's Next: Zarate believes she's reach the limits of what she can teach herself about art, and has enrolled at the Glassell School of Art to further her studies.

More Creatives (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Margo Toombs, actor and writer Shelby Hohl, graphic designer Timothy Dorsey, writer and illustrator Lucas Gorham, musician Tracy Manford Carlson, photographer Lauren Rottet, architect and designer John Robertson, visual artist John Adelman, visual artist Chandos Dodson, interior designer Cliff Franks, painter Kim Hartz, photographer Katy Heinlein, visual artist Robert Shimko, dramaturg Galina Kurlat, photographer Wayne Slaten, filmmaker Jane Weiner, dancer and choreographer El Franco Lee II, visual artist Chris McKay, photographer Jason Ransom, visual artist Mr. SINched, fashion desiger "Uncle" Charlie Hardwick, poster designer Avital Stolar, playwright and educator Katherine Houston, visual artist Christopher Olivier, visual artist Dennis Lee Harper, sculptor David A. Brown, photographer Rachel Harmeyer, visual artist Kia Neill, installation artist Stacy Davidson, filmmaker Jennifer Wood, choreographer GONZO247 Kevin DeVil, filmmaker Kerry Beyer, photographer and filmmaker Robert Ellis, musician Davie Graves, musician and visual artist Robert Hodge, multimedia Mary Magsamen, photo and video artist John Harvey, theater Bret Harmeyer, visual artist Joel Orr, puppet master Rodney Waters, photographer and pianist Jeremy Choate, lighting designer Chuck Ivy, visual artist Tra'Slaughter, visual artist Jen Chen - visual art, designer Howard Sherman - Painter Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad Misha Penton - Opera Singer and Theater Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto - Photojournalist Tracy Robertson aka Batty - Goth Fashion Designer Tierney Malone - Creative Type Dolan Smith - Painter Jenny Schlief - Mixed-Media Artist David Eagleman - Writer Anna Sprage - Painter Philip Lehl - Actor Andy Noble - Choreographer David McGee - Painter

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