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Sketchbook Porn

Sketchbook Porn: Julie Alpert

Julie Alpert‘s temporary installations make you feel like you’ve walked into a life-size paper doll house. Rooms are outfitted with giant, cartoon cardboard furniture. Walls are layered with electric patterned wallpaper that she’s painted by hand or piled with textiles printed in kaleidoscopic clashing stripes. Her re-imagining of decorative kitsch and everyday living spaces is just plain fun, but it also harkens to a history of visual artists who crossed over into the world of design and decorative arts. Like William Morris, Walter Gropius or designers working in the Art Nouveau movement, Alpert’s domestic worlds nod to the psychological influences—both loud, surreal and subtle—of design in one’s environment.

“I use my sketchbook to flesh out ideas and make plans for large-scale installations and assemblages,” Alpert says. “Here is a recent project, in sequence, with cat, for the November show Borderlands at SOIL Gallery (with Susanna Bluhm, Cynthia Camlin, Elise Richman and Katy Stone). You can watch as my concept grows and shifts from one drawing to the next, while staying within the same basic set of motifs and materials: colored pencils, markers, shadows, drippy or craggy patterned forms, a rectangle with broken borders. I recently switched from 9″x9” wet/dry media books to a ruled composition book. I’ve enjoyed responding to the lines.”

Borderlands Sketches #1-10, colored pencil and marker on ruled paper, 10 x 8 inches, 2014.

“The original plan was to develop the best parts of these sketches into a 6’x8’ plywood, paint and collage assemblage, but after making this animated gif I’m leaning towards a mixed-media wall drawing with animation. This happens nearly every time: I begin a project with a specific outcome and allow what happens in my sketchbook to lead me slightly off-path.”

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