Meet One of the Small Works Project Artists: Julia Emiliani

Julia Emiliani is one of twelve artists selected as a Gallery 263 Small Works Project artist. This project presents artwork in flat files at the gallery and on our website for the duration of one year. All artists are based in Massachusetts. Visit Emiliani’s Small Works Project page to see more of her work.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Julia Emiliani and I’m an artist and illustrator currently based in Somerville, MA. I’ve always been an artistically inclined person, which led me to pursue a degree in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I’ve since been a commercial designer & illustrator by day for the past five years and paint on the side. In addition to that, I run an etsy shop of illustrated goods on the side called Over it Studio. When I’m not making art, I love tending to my plants, trying out new recipes, or taking a nice long walk in my neighborhood.

What kind of art do you make?
I love all forms of 2D art, but primarily focus on making paintings and illustrations. I also dabble in knit and crochet as a personal practice!

What concepts does your art explore?
I’m interested in exploring and communicating the energy of everyday objects through documentation in painting. I find myself drawn to subject matter personal in nature—interior spaces, vintage objects, ephemera of all sorts. I love juxtaposing these objects that hold a sense of history and meaningful connection with digitally-inspired graphic elements like bold, flat color, fields of gradients and geometric shapes. Studying moments like these keeps me present and I hope the study of these objects encourages a sense of presence for viewers as well.

Can you tell us about the work you have on view in your flat file drawer at the gallery?
The work I currently have on view explores these themes! The objects I have depicted are those that have significance for me, be it in their history, their aesthetics, or both. In these works, I’m also exploring the use of a single color in executions and how the simplicity of just one color enhances the impact of the piece.

Where do you make your work?
I work out of my home studio (aka bedroom) in Somerville!

What are your favorite materials to use? Most unusual?
I think my favorite materials are also popular faves among other illustrators and artists! Definitely love Golden Heavy Body Acrylics and Holbein Acryla Gouache is also great for more finished work. Working digitally in Procreate is another favorite tool as well for finished illustrations. For studies in my sketchbook, I tend to use markers, Posca paint pens and sometimes colored pencil or oil pastel. I suppose the most unusual material would be the occasional use of Gelly Roll gel pen!

What historical and contemporary artists inspire you?
Where to start! Lots of contemporary and historical artists inspire me and I’m constantly adding to the list! Some favorite illustrators and painters that jump out at me are Anna Valdez, Julia Rothman, Bijou Karman, Sophie Treppendahl, Kristin Texeira, Erika Lee Sears, Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Wayne Thiebaud and of course, Henri Matisse. I also pull inspiration from fashion designers—Ashish, Molly Goddard and Gucci to name a few!

When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?
I can’t remember not wanting to be an artist! So, very young—maybe 4 or 5.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
To view more of my work, check out or follow me on instagram @juliaemiliani!