Julie Podstolski is an established Fremantle artist working in coloured pencils. Her diverse new exhibition records the bird life of Fremantle, the night streets of Kyoto, the mysterious, secretive and evocative world of maiko and geiko (geisha) who live in Kyoto, and 'poster' images of Western women.
Julie originally trained in painting, undertaking a Diploma of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand from 1978-80. After moving to Australia in 1982, Julie began exploring coloured pencils, a medium she now works with exclusively and has refined over the decades.
Following a visit to Gion, the high class geisha district of Kyoto at the beginning of 2003 when she first saw young maiko and geisha (known in Kyoto as geiko) and became totally fascinated by their ethereal beauty, she has developed a body of meticulous drawings which seek to capture their idealized traditional femininity in the midst of a brash neon lit 21st C city.
Today’s geisha, and the apprentice maiko, as captured in Julie Podstolski’s drawings are a modern phenomenon providing a direct link with the extraordinary world of the courtesans and geisha of Japan before it opened up to the West. Then they were fashion innovators: today, however, they are the custodians of tradition. Julie’s studies of maiko and geiko provide a fascinating modern reflection of the world of the courtesans and geisha to be found in the erotic prints of 18thC and 19th Century Japan which accompany Julie’s exhibition
Viewing Julie Podstolski’s work for the first time you could be forgiven for initially mistaking her exquisite drawings for photographs. The striking compositions and impeccable detail reveal a snapshot in time, captured by an objective observer. However on closer inspection the apparent sharpness softens, revealing intriguing layers of blending, blurring colour. Both the level of detail and mastery of her craft are astounding.