Paranormal Artist Profile: Julia Velarde
Fortean artist Julia Velarde was born into art as the youngest sibling of a very creative family.
"Art was always second nature and more of a survival tactic," Julia told us. "I was constantly making my own toys and little friends and as I got older I wanted those worlds to come alive, so I decided to pursue animation."
Julia describes her style as magical realism, and enjoys animation because of the breadth of mediums it allows.
"Ever since I started creating art I’ve gone through phases with mediums. I get obsessed with something and then pick something new to get obsessed with after a while. That’s why animation is ideal, because you can incorporate as many mediums as you want! I have a background in oil painting, but I love puppet making the most because you can use so many different types of tools," she said.
It was Julia's mother who first introduced her to the paranormal, and it was that introduction that led inevitably to her current obsession with the unexplained.
"As a kid, my mom loved conspiracies and the paranormal, so those subjects were our bedtime stories," Julia explained. "It’s a fascination that was unavoidable and as I got older it naturally showed up in my work like old friends. Reading and hearing about other people’s experiences is one of my favorite things to do and for my art I love combining reality with the unknown."
"I’m a giant baby so ghost stories are my favorite because they scare me the most," she continued. "Digging deep into the history of places to try to uncover explanations is infinitely intriguing because it can take you down so many unexpected roads with unexpected stories. I love learning about what happens when the past collides with the present."
Julia loves Bigfoot—specifically the southern Skunk Ape—but told us so far her encounters with the paranormal have been of the ghostly variety.
"At the Stanley Hotel, a very heavy door shut behind me after we tried to contact the resident ghost, Lucy. And at the site of the Sand Creek Massacre I heard unexplainable drumming coming from multiple locations at once," she said. "Luckily, I haven’t actually seen a ghost."
Julia also told us about a couple of fun projects we think our fellow forteans will enjoy.
"My senior thesis which was about The Triangle Factory Fire tragedy was in a few festivals," she said. "And I’m working on a productivity app that hatches creatures, and we have a section for paranormal. The first one was a yeti!"
Julia certainly loves to keep busy, but that’s no surprise given her perspective on art.
"Keep making it because you love it and you need it for your soul," she advised.