Julie Goldstein is a celebrated California artist exhibited throughout the world. She is inspired by the ocean and surfing to create her vibrant woodcut prints. We catch up with Julie to learn more about her life and her art.
What was life like growing up?
I grew up in a small town about 40 minutes from the coast in New Jersey. We used to ride our bikes everywhere, including to school. Medford Lakes was a small and tight knit community. It was a great place to grow up. My family spent summers and most weekends in Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island. My parents raised us to be very comfortable in the water. My dad used to have body surfing competitions with us with when we really little. Since then I have been very comfortable in the ocean. My siblings and I grew up surfing, body surfing and water-skiing.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young?
I remember reading surfing magazine when I was really young. I had all the posters of surfers all over my bedroom wall. I loved and still admire greatly Linda Benson and Rell Sunn.
When did you get your first surfboard?
My dad surprised me with my first surfboard when I was 12. It was hiding behind the Christmas tree. I was so excited. It was a 5’6” bright pink Skip Miller Line Drive. I still have it.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
I will never forget learning to surf. I was about 11 or 12 and the waves were stormy and cold in New Jersey. I was determined to be a surfer. The boys that I grew up with in Harvey Cedars, would paddle out with me and encourage me to take the set waves. Back then I was fearless and didn’t really care how big the surf was, I would just go for it, fall and paddle back out until I would eventually ride waves in. I was addicted to surfing at a young age.
Where did you interest in art come from?
I always loved to draw, sew and create. My mom taught me how to sew when I was 8 and my sister and I had a playroom where we were allowed to draw on the walls. I think that was the start of my creative interest. It wasn’t until high school where I felt most comfortable in the art room surrounded by other students interested in being creative. I was good at it and the art teachers encouraged me to keep taking advanced art classes. I ended up studying art in college.
What is your process when creating your art?
I consider myself a woodcut printmaker with a strong connection to drawing. I love to draw. I start my woodcuts by first drawing onto the surface of wood. Then I carve the negative spaces in the drawing and jigsaw or sand down the surfaces to create texture. Lastly, I roll ink onto the woodcut and place paper onto the surface. From there I use a wooden spoon to apply pressure to the paper and then pull the paper from the wood to create a print of the carving. I usually print between 3 and 10 from each woodcut, depending on how large the carving is.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I have a strong love for Europe. My last trip to France was very special and it is a place I would like to travel back too. I love the culture in Europe; the food, art, fashion, aesthetics, everything!!
What is it that makes you such a nice person? What code do you live by?
Be kind to others, give from your heart, be mindful, honest and grateful for the little things in life
Who/what inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, mostly the power and emotions of the sea. I am inspired by individuals who follow their dreams and create a lifestyle based on what makes them happy. Lastly, I am empowered by women who are fearless, nurturing, balanced and leaders. They remind me why I create art.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
My parents taught me how to give and be grateful for the little things. I learned through life to follow my heart, mind and to honor my health. Life is so short, take advantage of what you have and can offer to others.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
Never, I live in the present. If I wished otherwise I would not be grateful for where I am today.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to let go of the past and live in the present moment.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is humbling to me. I surf because I love the ocean and I always feel more grounded after surfing. My husband always says “Its always better to surf” and it is. I go through periods when I don’t surf, and when I get back in the water after a break, I always realize why I love surfing so much. It is physical, spiritual and I always learn some thing from each session. I usually get most of my ideas for my art in the water.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
I am most happy when I am balanced. This is when I am creating art, spending time with my friends and family and especially surfing with Mark, my husband and swimming with Davey our dog.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
Good question. I think Maya Gabriella is absolutely fearless, she is someone I admire because of her story and charging huge surf. I also think Kassia Meador is amazing. She is an unbelievable surfer and has created a career not only on surfing, but art, personality and she is a role model for other women. People are drawn to her for so many different reasons.
What is in your current quiver? What is your favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
I have two favorite boards for two totally different conditions. I LOVE my 9’6” Yater. That is my baby. I am naturally a long boarder and I love surfing Cardiff Reef or Swami’s on it. But I also love my 6’0” Channel Island quad. My absolute favorite place to surf is at home on 78th street in Harvey Cedars, the same street where I learned to surf.
What’s your favorite meal?
My husband and I are vegetarian. I love a good home cooked veggie filled meal. I don’t even care what it is as long as there are tons of vegetables.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
MIA, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ting Tings, Radiohead, The Smiths, Otis Redding, Interpol
What causes/ projects/ organizations do you support?
The National Endowment for the Arts, Surfrider Foundation, The Monarch School, Women for Women Organization, PETA, Alliance for Living Ocean, Keep a Breast Foundation
What’s next for Julie Goldstein?
Only time will tell. I will keep creating, living each moment, and being true to my art and myself. I can only be grateful for what I have right now and I hope that what I create can speak to a larger audience.
Find out more about Julie Goldstein and her art here.