It was such an honour to be featured in VIC&CO // edição #008, a gorgeous magazine based in São Paulo, Brazil. The feature was translated into Portuguese but you can read the english version below. Thank you to Victor Collor for special interview and editorial magic!
Where were you born and tell me about your story from where it all started until now. When did you get evolved in the art world?
I was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up in a few different places throughout the country. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made things. I’ve always had a compulsion to create and to work with my hands. Some of my earliest memories are drawing and painting at the kitchen table. I grew up with a mother who appreciated and made beautiful things and a father who taught me the art of observing, questioning and thinking. As a result, possibility and curiosity have become the two things that make me tick. I received my Bachelor of Design in Illustration at the Ontario College of Art & Design and since then I’ve spent most days with a pencil or paintbrush in hand pursuing a variety of dreams, working on a wide range of projects.
We can see that you are very connected to the vintage world. What brought you to this?
I love the soul in the vintage world. I love the idea that an object possesses a narrative and is thus a living thing. A vintage object has stories to tell and secrets to keep. I’ve been interested in design for a very long time and appreciate its many forms; fashion, textile, industrial, architectural, environmental… you name it. Timeless design intrigues me. I’m curious to better understand how something can remain relevant and passionately embraced over decades, sometimes centuries. Patina has been one of my favourite things about vintage watches, adding great charm and character. The marks tell stories, the worn and weathered flaws make it truly interesting. Much is the same for people, I think.
When did the idea of drawing watches came up?
I dipped into watches a few years ago, serendipitously. I had been looking for a new subject to study in depth. I’ve been a design enthusiast for most of my life – inspired by details, anywhere and everywhere. Texture, colour, line, form, function and pattern in urban or natural landscapes, in exotic or mundane environments, in tiny humble interactions or vast mind-blowing ones. So when I came across an article about iconic timepieces, I got curious. Watches span so many different worlds and I quickly discovered there was much to learn and explore. I knew that I wanted to approach the collection in a way that would highlight design. When you play with scale and distort the context of an everyday object, you’re able to see something with fresh eyes and a different perspective. This is my intention with the collection. The deeper I get into the collection, the more I’d like to explore the mechanical and conceptual side of things. I’ve got quite a ways to go and much to learn but the next phase of the collection will focus on these things.
Do you draw only with pencil/graffiti?
I’ve worked with a variety of media but for the moment, I’m focusing on graphite. The pencil has been the starting point for created things through history; a composer’s score, a mathematician’s proof, a writer’s canon, a watch designer’s timepiece. I’m drawn to the idea of using one of the most basic tools to create huge, highly intricate pieces of work. One of the special things about working with a pencil is the metamorphosis that takes place. As the wood is shaved off layer by layer, the tool in hand transforms into something on a page.
I’ve also chosen graphite for the timepiece collection because a simplified B&W palette allows you to see line, form and balance more clearly. Without the distraction of colour, you can focus on the design.
Talking about numbers. On your instagram account we can see a lot of pencil. Do you have a number to share with me?
I’ve lost track of how many pencils I’ve used in my life! On average, a timepiece drawing takes 40-70 pencils ranging from HB to 4B. The darker a watch, the more graphite required. I use the Staedtler Mars Lumographs, the ones my grandfather worked with as an engineer.
How long it takes to make the big painting/drawing we cane see on your instagram account?
The drawings take anywhere from 250-350 hours depending on the complexity of detail whether it’s the actual design of the watch or the added complication of a watch’s unique marks and patina. The preliminary stages of research, brainstorming, designing and sketching are trickier to pin point because I’m usually juggling a few different projects in various stages at any given time.
Do you sell your work? How does it work if people in Brazil would like to buy one?
Much of the work in the timepiece collection has been commissioned. I’ve worked with brands and private collectors all over the world, as well as editorial work for leading publications. I offer limited edition prints for different timepieces and plan to keep adding to the print collection when I find time to create new independent pieces. Prints are available to purchase through my shop (https://shop.juliekraulis.com) and people interested in commissioning original work can inquire via email ([email protected]). Happy to connect on Instagram as well (@juliekraulis).
Here’s a little on how it works. Once a piece is confirmed, I work with the client to mine for all sorts of details that make a watch unique. I like to emphasize its history, narrative and personal significance through added design detail. The research rolls around in my brain for some time and eventually sifts into a ideas and different design approaches. Through a series of mockups, the selected idea is refined and then I move forward to final art. The art takes about a month to complete with a few weeks prior for the preliminary stages and timelines are determined by the length of my waitlist.
The “watches & cars” world is considered masculine by many. Do you suffer with male chauvinist (machism) some how?
This is true, the watch and car world is very male dominated. I’ve been fortunate to work with wonderful people in all spaces of the industry. It would be difficult to say whether or not gender has affected my work in the space but my focus and desire is for it to stand on its own, adding value to the space with my unique fingerprint, regardless of gender. There are so many points of resistance along a creative path that threaten to overwhelm and I’m not sure exactly when it happened but somewhere, somehow resistance became fuel for the fire. I’m learning how to take any form of it, discard the negative content and spin it into a positive force.
I see a lot of brands on your work. Do you have some preferred ones? I can see you draw a lot of Rolex. Something to do with what people want or is your passion?
I’ve worked on a quite a few brands and there are still so many I have yet to get to. I need more time, a handful of 48h days would be good! I’ve got favourite pieces across all brands but I have a special affinity for A. Lange & Söhne and a few others. Rolex timepieces have been the most popular commissioned brand but I will draw just about any watch you throw at me. I look forward to working on new ones and old ones as I continue with the collection.