The Princess Diana tribute at Kensington Palace, March 2012.
Part of a huge restoration of Kensington palace, this was arguably the most profilic commission. Julie was requested to interpret famous moments of Diana Princess of Wales' life as a mural wallpaper. Being so quintissentially British in style and personality, Julie was the ideal candidate for such a brief. The illustrations struck the perfect balance between the poetic, almost fairytale imagery of the notion of 'the people's princess', while her active and aggressive brushstrokes and colour kept the whole thing from turning potentially too nostalgic or safe, a path that would be incredibly easy to go down. Julie's trademark style gave the commemorative wallpaper a fresh and exciting quality whilst reflecting the poignancy and more saddening aspect of her demise. To be able to do this and still create a faithful representational homage to Diana AND keep the palace happy, is a bit of a feat.
Some readers of the Daily Mail (Fail) however were not so enthusiastic as me, when commenting an article on the commission, which Julie rightfully laughed off herself. One comment which managed to sum up the work perfectly was the following: "Julie Verhoeven's illustrations really capture Diana's vulnerability and elegance. Simply beautiful. It's all very 'fashion', but then so was Diana.... I think she would have loved this"
whilst one not so in favour read:
"Why oh why do these so called artists try to be edgy..usually failing! The sketches look like something a bunch of 8-10 year olds would do fro a school project! The colouring is also tacky. It might not have looked so bad if the had stuck to the original colours of the clothes and especially the flowers! And can anyone explain why there is a cow in the sketch of the wedding photo? How much more elegant it would have looked if the chosen photos had been reproduced on the wallpaper"
An idiotic comment in my eyes but I think even Julie would appreciate that her style manages to piss some people off.
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Then there was her Melissa Shoes collaboration, entitled 'Plastic Dreams' for their winter 2012 collection. Launched during fashion week in Brasil, and with a pop up shop party in London the other week, a colossal mural was produced using her illustrations to promote the shoe range. (last two photos taken from Fred Butler's blog here.)
M.A.C Cosmetics. July 2012.
Alongside illustrators François Berthoud and Nikki Farquharson, Julie has just released a collaboration with M.A.C cosmetics for Nordstrom, who are exclusive in selling the Illustrated Mac Collection ,available now and guaranteed to become a collectable.
Outlaw by Something Else. July 2012.
Also newly available, her collaboration with Something Else, where Julie produced the prints for their 'Outlaw Spring 2012' collection. Collaborations like this always make me live in hope that there might be some sort of return for her Gibo label, maybe as a capsule collection or one off. Fingers crossed for her prints appearing on menswear sometime.
Speaking of menswear, I've included an image of her previous collaboration with Peter Jensen, and a rather hilariously unprepared for conversation on showstudio between the two of them back in November. Watch them try to wing the discussion here:
Also related to menswear, designer Christopher Shannon asked Julie to produce an installation for his fw12/13 mens show (yes, those are models' legs in the pieces, not mannequins!)
Sky TV. 2011.
Much like her collaboration with M.A.C, her style and references here are simply in the notions of colour and artistry, which make up the super fun packaging for a limited edition Sky HD box. Julie has previously also collaborated with sky on a box set back in 2008, and admits to loving watching trash telly.
Read her interview with Molly Parkin for Mono-Zine here. Julie isn't afraid to ask direct or intimate questions and Molly gives some fantastic responses.
The key to Julie's approach is that everything is very hands-on. In constant state of experimentation with video, installation, drawing and materials her work, particularly her fine art, deals with themes that "behind the apparent erotic seduction lies the cruel, sometimes tragic reality of the sexual and the physical, of the masquerade and the theatre of the soul"
Angelique Spaninks' introduction to 'A Bit Of Rough', who describes it far better than I ever can.
For those who want to purchase anything on her work, all books become guaranteed collectibles. Start your hunt now. Fat Bottomed Girls, her first book based on 40 of her favourite music tracks will occasionally surface on ebay at prices usually starting at £150, and everytime it does I'm always too skint, but it WILL be mine eventually. Gas Book 13 is another rare one which is dedicated with plenty of her work, again, good luck finding it. Then A Bit Of Rough, her most recent one, which I was lucky enough to have a very kind friend give me a one off edition with an original illustrated cover (1 of 40 created), pictured underneath (there is also one available here)
Her issue of The Illustrated Ape is also still available through their site for just a fiver! Get it before it's gone.
To keep updated, follow her tumblr, where she continues to post witty, surreal, occassionally perverse and inherently English images that serve for inspiration, as well as images of her latest work. Again, same with her instagram. Failing any of these, if you're lucky enough to live near, you might be able to catch her occasionally dj'ing at The George And Dragon in East London.