Not being willful, artist interview, Julie Heffernan

Jennifer Samet interviews Julie Heffernan for Hyperallergic. Heffernan discusses her childhood, education and the construction of her complex narrative paintings.
Jake Berthot.....talked about not being willful with an image. What he meant by willful is that idea of forcing an image into being, as opposed to letting it happen... 
.....there is a source creativity that seems to flow out of us of its own accord. That is what I work for. My process now is, I will look through a bunch of images, or maybe I’ll have something in my head, but it is sketchy and spectral. That will constitute the first layer of paint. Then, it is about a lot of mark-making, much of which end up as detours, but which sets up a layer of frottage. Slowly I will see things in it. I will carve into the space to see things come forward and push other things back. 
I do that all from my head, with no photographs at all. It takes a while but that’s what is so exciting: this knitting process, where you move things around, find connections and suddenly you have a shape created by foreground, middle ground, background all working in tandem. It is this creation of space that’s endlessly fascinating, like a puzzle I am putting together.
ulie Heffernan, “Self Portrait Dressing Wounds” (2012), oil on canvas, 67 x 70 in (all images courtesy the artist and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York)

Millennium Burial Mound, 2012 / oil on canvas / 68 x 80 inches


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