Friday, July 04, 2008


Interview by Michelle Rothstein

Julie Moon is a ceramicist living here in Toronto. Her work is vibrant, eye-popping and can be extremely funny. I spoke with her via email to find out what lurked behind her use of fantabulous imagery and iconography.

Julie at work

Why hands? Is it the form that inspires you or the multitude of messages they convey?

Hand signs are definitely appealing for the number of ways they can be read and understood. I love that. Personally, I'm constantly struggling to find the right words and there's something very clear and graphic about hand symbols as a language (and all other iconic imagery,) but there's also room for interpretation…especially when I use the surface of these forms to explore pattern and images to accentuate or distort the form, which often flattens it.


Your fists are reminiscent of various political movements and yet, always knock you with some comedy. Was it your intention to blend politics and humour?

I'm always playing with duality. This goes back even to my high school days and various fashion faux pas ie: cowboy boots with denim and velvet ruffles, Oh god, lots and lots of ruffles. I love using contrast in order to challenge our expectations of things and to help punctuate certain points/ideas. It's a little rebellious (and sometimes clichéd.)


Were the 60s a big inspiration for you? There seems to be a psychedelic vibe in much of the work? Almost like the posters from music shows in the Haight.

Oh yeah. I've always been into popular culture from the 60's and early 70's; music, fashion, graphics and illustration. I was really inspired by art nouveau artists such as Alphonse Mucha and Aubrey Beardsley as well as a number of illustrators and textile manufacturers like Peter Max, Emilio Pucci, Marimekko. I grew up a huge fan of George Dunning's "Yellow Submarine" and Frank Newfield's illustrations from Dennis Lee's children's book, "Alligator Pie" and the early Sesame Street episodes and skits STILL blow my mind!

Your shift to ‘I Love You’ hands (or ‘rock on’ to some of us hosers) embrace Americana imagery on a specifically American gesture. Growing up in Toronto, was it just something you had to tackle?

American music and culture have always been a huge influence. I especially identify with the culture of rock 'n roll probably because it has so much to do with traditions/roots, process, expression/rebellion, craftsmanship and accessibility. There's also something very American in the way that I perceive it as being 'direct,' to the point and (seemingly) honest and transparent which is completely different from my hardcore Korean/Christian upbringing. The boldness and brashness of American culture can be part of what I love about it and part of what I hate, essentially that's what the "I love you (America)" piece is about.


You have been involved in many shows over the years, how do you think the materials scene has changed?

The materials scene is extremely vibrant and exciting. People are challenging and pushing boundaries within the realm of craft, often with a healthy dose of whimsy and wit BUT, what's interesting is…. the dedication involved isn't something to joke about. I can almost always appreciate work where you can see the effort, skill and labour.

Does the Outdoor Art Exhibition provide a different clientele for you?

The Outdoor show reaches a much larger audience than any other show I've ever done. I think there's an estimated 100,000 people who come to the Outdoor and that's pretty incredible! It's a fun show to do because so many amazing and talented people participate. (I'm always most interested in visiting the student sections on the square, they often have the freshest stuff.) Also, because there's such a range of folks who visit, I try to bring a range of things to show and sell.

Houston House and Home 005

Will you be bringing some new works to the show?

I suppose I've got a few new tricks up my sleeve….but you'll have to come down and see with your very own eyes and hands! I'm heading off to grad school in the fall so this will be my final show in Toronto for a few years. I'm planning on schlepping all the things (new and old) that are hanging around my studio to the show. Should be an eclectic presentation of ceramic objects fer sure!!


Michelle Rothstein is a Toronto resident with a passion for design and a love of the hand-made. Her business MOB, is a travelling salon-style show and website ( which brings individual and sophisticated works to the design hungry for the sheer love it. She is psyched that Toronto is getting much more styley in its old age.


Blogger krystal said...

We'll miss you schlepping your ceramics when you leave Toronto, Julie! xo

10:43 p.m.  

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