Julia Szten SWJ 2020

Artist image

Artist Bio

Julie Szten received her Masters of Art in Teaching at Whitworth University and Bachelor of Fine Art in ceramics from Western Michigan University. A fascination with the art of the Pacific Northwest brought her to Washington. In Spokane, she received a teaching assistantship from Whitworth for graduate school and later continued to study at Eastern Washington University.

Julie taught ceramics at Spokane Art School and Corbin House and worked as director of both the YWCA Pottery Program and the Eugenia Stowe Gallery in Spokane Washington. She taught art to all ages for over 20 years in public school and private settings.

The variety of media Julie explores includes ceramics, bronze, pastel and digital imaging. She exhibits her work in juried shows and galleries and is currently a member of the Artists’ Gallery in Olympia, WA.

Artist Statement

My work is about advocacy. It is about the mankind’s relationship to one another, to the earth and all its inhabitants. It is about mythos, a way to understand ourselves as part of a larger world. 

The work chosen for this show, Missing Woman is part of a series that represents the many missing and dead women from our Native American cultures. They go unfound and unknown and often unnoticed.

The cultures along the Pacific Rim influence the design of much of my work. I admire the calligraphic line, nesting shapes and captivating stories of Pacific Northwest coast art as well as the compact, rounded forms of Inuit sculpture. On the other side of the Pacific, fluid line and pattern of 19th century Japanese prints and the Art Nouveau movement these works helped shape continues to be an inspiration. I marvel at the similarities between the Pacific Rim cultures. RC Gorman, Carole Grigg and especially Rei Munoz are among the contemporary artists whose works shape my ascetic. 

I have a direction before I begin, but as I work, a dialogue develops between the medium and me. In the negotiation, an image emerges and often, so does a story. These stories resonate with myths of indigenous cultures and as well as lessons of personal experience.