Since today is this creative lady’s birthday, it only seems appropriate that we learn more about her…Happy Birthday Yura!!!
The Gourmet Art Studio equals Jurate Phillips and lots of fun! I learned about her and her work through the 614 Facebook page and a mutual friend and artist, Teresa Morbitzer. Because I loved the look of her studio, her work and Teresa loves her, I thought I better learn more about her and promote her so here we go!!!
Jurate (pronounced your-rah-tay), known as Yura by friends, and I started the interview process online and then, yippeee!, I was lucky enough to be invited to her bright and cheerful studio located in the house next to her home in Merion Village. I am totally covetous of this space!
Our visit started with a big hug, beautifully displayed goodies (yummy, too!) and wine in crystal goblets.As she began answering some of my questions, I found out that originally she had a studio at 400 West Rich at the time that it first opened along with Heather Wirth and Etsy Team Columbus…funny, found out that we had actually met back then cause her studio was right across the hall from the ETC studio (I belonged to that org years ago). Such a small world!
We spent almost 3 hours together, discussing art, children, relationships, living in the USA, her dreams for the future, her daughter and she and her hubby’s plans for their beautiful backyard. I learned that she met her hubby, John(originally from TN), fairly soon after coming to this country and found her soulmate of 19 years! Her adorable daughter, Isabella, has actually been to my house with Teresa’s and her kids…another coincidence!
I think the best way to give her background is through her own words:
I don’t like talking about myself and especially I don’t think that I am special enough to be interviewed……I am just ordinary girl who loves to paint. I grew up in the former Soviet Union in a small city in the north of Lithuania in the city inundated with Stalinistic architecture, with the pressure to be someone who you are not , with pressure to conform with someone else’s ideas, aesthetics, mentality and beliefs. My family in particular was under constant KGB watch, having been deported to Siberia for 12 years, post World War II as the Soviets occupied Lithuania. To escape from oppression and from the city, we would go to grandma’s. She lived in a tiny village in the country with few houses and only a few people around. We would spend all our weekends, holidays and summers there. There were no playgrounds, no other kids to play with. The TV had only one channel so it was just my little brother, me and nature. That was the best platform for my imagination. Running barefoot through the fields and streams, picking mushrooms in the forest and picking wild flowers around the farm made us feel free…
She states that she feels lucky that her creative voice found her at a very early age. When she was 10, her mom signed her up at a children’s art studio and she has been painting ever since (35 years). She’s been a professional artist for 26 years. I have been an artist pretty much my entire life – always drawing, always in charge of banners and posters in high school, always called upon to do everything from display ads to newsletters. Wherever I was, whatever job I was in, it did not take long for everyone around me to learn I was the “creative” one.
After graduating from Šiaulių Universitetas in Lithuania, where I was classically trained in painting and design, I came to the United States in 1997. 19 years ago I left behind my family, friends in Lithuania to create my new life in America. I had nothing but two suitcases and a new husband. Yes, two suitcases. My entire life fit in those two suitcases. I can still feel the emotions, anxiety and overwhelming fear of the unknown.
She wasn’t sure where to start her journey but unexpectedly she was given the opportunity to go back to school at CCAD where she majored in Interior Design in 2002. She laughingly states that her career path has certainly been surprising…she has been an art teacher, real estate agent, graphic designer and interior designer. Throughout these varied professions, she believed that it was impossible to earn a living as an artist unless you were a celebrity; art was only to be a hobby!
However, in 2007 she was laid off from her ‘traditional’ job as an interior designer after a maternity leave. As the economy was in a downward spiral, she could not find another job. As a result, she spent a LOT of time with her infant daughter and painted a LOT! Her hubby suggested that they try to sell some of her expanding inventory (filling her dining room and spare bedroom!) So, ingenuity came to the rescue…one Gallery Hop Saturday, she hung her paintings on a construction fence and sold almost all of them!!! At that point, she began to believe that it would be possible to support herself as a professional artist.Eight years later, she is still at it; painting every day in her backyard studio and living the life she once thought was only a pipe dream. Her“store” is Gourmet Art Studio and she started selling her work in the US in 2007. She posts her new pieces on Facebook and Instagram and can be mostly found in her backyard studio. That is, when she’s not on the road with her work at art festivals.
Actually, the story of her studio is an interesting one, too. She and her hubby initially lived in Clintonville and had a rental property in Merion Village located next to her brother-in-law’s home. Eventually, they chose to move to the house in Merion and John’s brother wanted to sell his house…synchronicity! Yura decided to take the plunge and created the adorable studio she now works and teaches in. She painted everything bright white and displayed her art throughout…actually, it’s sort of revolving art display.
What is her painting style? She inter-mixes different painting styles, techniques and mediums because she thinks that in our contemporary art world we don’t need to place labels on art works anymore. There’s no rule to say I must use only one style in a painting. It is entirely up to me. I am the artist, I am the boss, and it is my painting. She believes that art should reach deep within each of us to touch our heart and soul. Visual texture, bold use of color, and trusting her intuition are just some of the elements in creating works that elicit emotional responses from viewers. Her work, at times, may be subtle, and at other times vibrant and bold. Her paintings are an attempt to show life the way she sees it: vibrant, joyful, bold and magnificent. I paint vigorously and happily, always leaving on the canvas my personal aura and an abundance of joy and positive energy.
She considers herself to be an experimental abstract expressionist artist. Her paintings often begin with thin washes of paint followed by layered glazes of color. The process involves the gradual buildup of many layers of color and texture to create the final image. She is fascinated with texture and creating interesting color combinations which can make one feel excitement and serenity at the same time. Loving to experiment with different mediums and see how they impact the art when used in various ways is a major part of her process. I’m forever evolving and go through periods in which I create new and different pieces for a series and then I get a new idea and go in another direction.
I believe that I am translator. I translate the fleetingly intangible beauty I see all around me on a daily basis into a tangible piece that can be hung and enjoyed in perpetuity.
Inspiration for her art is everywhere, every minute and, of course, in nature! She is constantly inspired by patterns, colors, and textures that she finds in everyday life; even the most random and unlikely things can become inspirations for a painting.
My emotions dictate what I will paint. One day I will do a vista inspired by the previous evening’s sunset. On another an abstract inspired by the rust patterns on a dumpster or I might be inspired by a simple flowers bloom. There are many influences contributing to my art but what inspires me the most is the way my daughter, Isabella, paints freely and without fear. It inspires me to avoid pigeon-holing myself and my art.
Currently, she is painting with acrylic, using a variety of palette knives together with brushes, direct hands-on, glazing, impasto or sgraffito techniques, often in a layered process to achieve richness and depth. Adding lots of texture to her paintings, she feels that paintings should not only be visually stimulating to the viewer, but should have some tactile quality as well.
Her pieces have sold nationally and internationally with original paintings showcased all over the country in law firms, interior design firms, hospitals, office buildings, architectural firms, doctor’s offices and private homes. She frequently works with art consultants and interior designers to create custom original contemporary abstract paintings for their client’s homes as well as private commissions. She is also represented by Hayley Gallery in New Albany OH. However, most of the time, she’s on the road traveling cross-country, assembling a mini art gallery of her work at various art festivals. She also posts her newer works on Facebook and Instagram and sells out of her studio because, as she puts it: Everybody is welcome to visit my studio! Lots of traveling to a lot of art festivals in places like Alabama, Chicago and Pittsburgh are in her near future. In addition, she hosts and teaches painting parties in her studio. BTW, I hope that I will be celebrating my birthday this year with friends doing a painting party in her studio!!!
Just before I had to head home, I expressed interest in a piece of her work that spoke to me…I’d been looking at it off and on throughout the interview and wanted to purchase it. OMG, she refused to take payment for it and gave me this beautiful piece that puts me back at the beach! Am I lucky or what????
Contact info for readers:
Painting parties: http://gourmetartstudio.blogspot.com/p/painting-p.html
Studio’s address: 1358 S 5th St., Columbus, OH 43207