“For the real artist, there is no separation from the work because the hand of creation is present at all times. Juliana is constantly moving, observing, and will paint on almost any surface at least once.”
It is impossible to talk about Juliana Lazzaro, the artist, without also taking into account the person that she is. To say that she has devoted her life to the creation of art would presume that there was ever a choice in the matter. I have learned from her that true art is a calling. For the real artist, there is no separation from the work, because the hand of creation is present at all times. She is constantly moving, observing, and will paint on almost any surface at least once.
Whether it is a blank canvas or one of many challenges inherent to living in New York City, she has the same approach. She breaks things down, peeling away layers to reveal the core elements of shape, truth, and sincerity. With her keen eye, she notices the minutest details and is adept at finding the beauty that hides in plain sight. In addition to being an inspired painter, she is also an astute detective, and intuitively sees people for who they are instead of how they would like to been seen. There is integrity and authenticity in all that she does. Out of all of the people I have ever met, she is one of the few that has aspects of Howard Roark, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” and the epitome of the “prime mover.” The first time we met, I was elated and confused by the treasure trove I had unearthed. We were in the East Village, the neighborhood where she lives and paints…
me: “What do you mean you don’t take the subway?”
Juliana: “I don’t like being underground.”
me: “So you take cabs everywhere?”
me: “Then how do you get around?”
Juliana: “I walk!”
Little did I know that I too would get lured into joining in on these walkabouts but it is the only way to truly experience Manhattan. Too often we rush from point A to B without stopping to notice the scenery. Just as words and images bring focus to loose thoughts, color and shape are essential to her art and so she gathers them up. She reminds me that we make life more complicated than is healthy or reasonable. We saw this first hand when hurricane force winds and salt water breached the mobile underground. The subway system is a great means of transportation but shut it down and the city is left crippled. Simple doesn’t necessarily have to equate with plain, easy, or boring. In fact, given how complicated our world has become, simplicity is actually quite challenging because it means going against the grain of the mainstream.
Juliana is a shape-maker who is also adept at portraits and landscapes, but her most recent love affair is with three dimensional movement, otherwise known as haute-couture. The garments themselves are a mix of designer and vintage which she then transforms and elevates with purpose driven brush strokes. The result is a piece of art that molds to a woman’s form.
It is only fitting that she should turn her attention to dressing women, since her feminine intuition is the compass by which she orients most of her decision making, from the epic to the everyday. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is her greatest strength since that is, after all, what art is all about: having a sense of what is possible and then giving it a tangible form. Within the last few years, scientific, esoteric, and new age circles, have all spoken of the power of intention, how the viewer is not separate from life but an integral aspect that has influence over it. The recurrence of this theme causes it to appear credible but it still seems like a vague notion to me until I think of Juliana. She is living this principle, an artist who creates and then sustains herself through vision and resourcefulness.
Considering the high cost of mere existence in New York City, this is no easy task, and yet it is a testament to the strength of her creativity and instinct to thrive. I do not say survival because that implies appealing to one’s baser instincts and she endeavors to nourish all aspects of herself. Life is her fuel and even the disappointments add strength to her already extensive portfolio. If I come to her seeking advice for a problem, she will guide me in the proper direction and then tell me to “put it into your work,” and as a writer, I do just that. It is advice that she herself follows religiously as she is one of the most productive people I have ever met. Her wealth is measured by her extensive body of work, the quality of the people in her life, and a connection to something greater than herself.
On May 30th 2013, the stars aligned and all of these elements came together for one magical evening. The showroom for Tesla Motors was gracious enough to lend their space to an event that honored vision and forward thinking, much like the cars that bear their name. In the heart of Chelsea’s bustling art scene, the battery powered sports cars were a fitting back drop for the collection of hand-painted garments to come to life. The preview included eight models, myself included, who were culled from her network of friends. I had seen many of the pieces before when they were still and flat, but the combustion of women, high fashion, and the source material of inspired painting made for a stunning debut.
To commission a one-of-a-kind garment of your very own, or to arrange a studio visit with the artist, please direct all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Say that Haute-Mind sent you!
Styling provided by Lucia G. Onieva, Design & Production Coordinator for J. Mendel
Author : Ashley Rabin
To learn more about the artist, please read