Sketchbook Porn | starmeqs

"Whether it be a stroke of sunlight against the corner of a building, a star cluster in the heavens or detritus that stuffs a recycle bin (two years ago she commandeered the walls of Joe Bar and plastered them with a constellation of collected teabag wrappers, wine boxes, soy milk cartons and empty prosciutto packets that swirled like one giant, beautiful garbage patch), her knack for breaking large ideas and large bodies of matter into pixel-size packets has a transforming effect." - Amanda Manitach

Click on the link for a glimpse of into my latest, galactic train of thought. I call these starmeqs. 

A page from my starmeq sketchbook

Trey Gunn's The Waters They Are Rising T-Shirts

Swank music/art shirts are here! This is the vector art version of my studio/digital art CD cover for Trey Gunn's release, The Waters They Are Rising and if you can't tell, I'm excited.

The goal was to design something we would love to wear. So far I've sported mine to everything from to rock shows to art openings to breakfast at Señor Moose. Goes with everything and feels great. Super soft. A little mysterious. Just the right splash of blue for those with all-black tastes like mine. Wear it on your Harley. Or under your tuxedo. Or over your Speedo. Or all three at once.

The shirt comes in two versions, Branded (with text), and Stealth (sans text). Men's and Women's styles and sizes available for purchase in Trey's store at Trey Gunn.

The Waters They Are Rising T-Shirt design, Stealth version

The Waters They Are Rising T-Shirt design, Stealth version

The Waters They Are Rising T-Shirt design, Branded version

The Waters They Are Rising T-Shirt design, Branded version

Trey Gunn's The Waters They Are Rising CD Cover Design

Lately I've been enjoying exploring combining studio and digital elements in both my own work and graphic design projects, which recently led to a collaboration with composer, creative coach and King Crimson guitarist, Trey Gunn.

Trey turns out to be the ideal design client, meaning he loves what I do to begin with, has a strong sense of what he's looking for and is open to how I meld the two.

With a general theme of "Flow" - the first in a series of four diversely inspired, yet loosely related, new albums - it wasn't hard to find inspiration visually. The result is a combination of analog studio work created specifically for the project in the form of one of my signature Collage Paintings, overlaid with digital elements created as vector art in Illustrator.

As for the music, I'm undoubtedly biased, but it's gorgeous. From one of the many reviews:

This is hypnotically beautiful music that you can really lose yourself in. Emotionally resonant and as deep as the flood waters it sets out to portray this is not and should never be regarded as background music, the variety of the material blending throughout with the watery theme. - Jez Rowden in The Progressive Aspect

To hear a sample track and to purchase, please visit Trey Gunn.

Happy New Year! Welcome to my new site

One year and many emails back and forth with the amazing folks at Squarespace later, I'm delighted to unveil my new website.

As is the nature of websites, it will continue to evolve.

Aside from a more streamlined look, updates include separate pages (at last!) for each category of work from paintings to installations to curating, a brand new Audio page with tracks embedded, and, yes, a new Collect button that makes it easy to buy a piece you love.

All of that said, I have to admit the feature I'm most excited about is my RDIOGLXY page. This is the landing point for my newest, current project.

Here I'll be posting all manner of oddities including starwavs, documents from the blue planet, icons from the outer regions and other interplanetary communications.

So thanks for visiting and tune in again soon...strange events appear on the airwaves at this frequency.

blueplanet | Blue Loop

blueplanet | Blue Loop

Star Songs

I'm super-excited to be presenting my first ever cd of recorded music at the opening of Star Systems this Saturday, November 9.

Star Songs is a suite of six all-instrumental songs (unless you count the fleeting Ennio Morricone vocals buried in Horsehead Nebula).

I recorded them over the past eight months or so, stretching GarageBand to the limits of its Apple-y seams.

Anyone picking up one of the limited edition, handmade cd's at my opening will notice credit to legendary Seattle drummer, Greg Gilmore, of Mother Love Bone and Ten Minute Warning fame, for "Mastering and Production Consultation" professionally scrawled in Sharpie on the cover.

In the recording studio, Greg's extraordinary musicianship combines with technical knowledge for world-class results. Thanks to his generosity, I can safely say I learned one or two things in my first recording project.

I'm going to be releasing a new Star Song on SoundCloud every five days or so during the run of the show, starting from the end of the album and building to the top.

Here is Kepler 62, inspired by the five planets orbiting this newly-discovered star.

And while you're over there, have a listen to some of Greg Gilmore's stuff. He's good.

You're invited to the opening of Star Systems

Julia Hensley, AB8 Blue Star System, 2013 acrylic and gouache collage on watercolor paper, 30" x 22"

Star Systems
Solo Works by Julia Hensley

Artist's Reception
Saturday, November 9

LxWxH Gallery
6007 12th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

Star Systems is an installation of abstract collage paintings and paintings on canvas inspired by the universe and technology. Hard-edged squares play off washes of color in response to NASA images, translated into a complex futuristic vision. A suite of six Star Songs recorded by the artist and presented as cds in a limited, handmade edition expands her vision into the sonic realm.

Saturday, November 30
Open until 3pm

Open every Saturday except opening day from 12-3pm (barring holidays)

>>>Listen to a preview of Star Songs on SoundCloud<<<

I'll be posting another song every five days or so during the run of the show, so check back to hear all 6.

All of the images will be available online by the end of the month.

Look forward to seeing you in happening Georgetown!

The earth is flat!

Flammarion's 1888 L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire (p. 163)And when you fall off the edge, there's no Twitter! Or Facebook. Which is all to say I've been gone a while, adjusting to new digs, new studio, new job, and working like a fiend in the studio.

So to fill you in, my work is all about space right now. I'm building what I call Star Systems, which are collage paintings inspired by a combination of NASA images and technology. I'm also recording an accompanying suite of songs similarly inspired, called Star Songs. I'm completely immersed in this work, visual and audio, and nothing means more to me right now. I haven't wanted to talk about it, just be in it.

My solo show opens November 9 at L x W x H in Seattle. Sharon Arnold's Georgetown gallery space is beautiful and I'm thrilled to be showing there. I'll be showing the Star Systems, and I'll have cd's of the Star Songs for sale, a very limited edition, with original art wrappers. I hope you'll come see if you're in town.

The earth of course isn't flat, it's round and spinning, like the new planets we keep discovering as we travel deeper into space. All of which blows my mind. Isn't it amazing?

Op-art: Tripping on the system's limitations

Optical art by Gianni SarconeIt's hard to believe these are static images, but apparently my easily-bamboozled brain can't keep up with my eyes, which can't focus properly. Win-win.

I enjoy musing on how this curiously animated effect is caused by our physical system's difficulty in processing certain visual information. Somehow it reinforces the fact that our reality is only one reality. What if our brains had been completely overhauled and rewired at some point, instead of evolving like a crazy house built onto a lean-to shack?

What seems real to our senses is only a readout produced to the best ability of our amazing, yet still relatively limited, physiological capacity. To some other version of ourselves, these wavering blue bubbles might sit completely still.

Then again if that were the case, we wouldn't have the mind-bloggling fun of watching them drift up and down, knowing they are in fact static, yet incapable of experiencing them that way.

via The Smithsonian

Curator's statement | BLACKgreyWHITE

Julia Hensley, Feedback Loop No. 2 (Grey), 2013. Acrylic on plastic, paper, 24 x 24 x 4 inchesBLACKgreyWHITE is about communication. I wanted to create a show that reflects on the potential for connection between polarized viewpoints, represented by works created entirely in black or white, with works in grey representing compromise, mutuality and commonality. Grey is the bridge and the moderator, a means to go forward.

While conceptually BLACKgreyWHITE is about the possibility of finding a third path in a landscape of polarized points of view, visually it’s about the effects resulting from working within strict limitations and asking, “What can I do within these restrictions?”

I challenged eight artists to create work using only black, or grey, or white in any given piece. Unable to rely on the familiar devices of value or color contrast, the artists had to come up with other ways to make their pieces legible and engaging. As you can see they got pretty creative in their solutions.

Communicating with one another when we hold opposite views involves a willingness to listen, a desire to look past the easy or obvious, and ultimately, the intrinsically human need to connect with others by conveying a thought. The same can be said about the exercise of working within rigorous constraints. I hope you enjoy the results of our explorations.

Julia Hensley
July 31, 2013


BLACKgreyWHITE is on view at Gage Academy August 2 - Septemer 6, 2013

Featuring original work by Sharon Arnold, Anne Blackburn, Cable Griffith, Troy Gua, Robert Hardgrave, Julia Hensley, Counsel Langley, and Amy-Ellen Flatchestedmama Trefsger.

The Stranger Suggests BLACKgreyWHITE

Spirographs and the music of the spheres

Howard Arrington's visualization of the orbits of Earth and VenusRemember those plastic spirographs you could draw patterns with as a kid? I spent hours lying on the floor with sheets of paper covered in wonky, colored circles, trying to give up control of the pen and let the template guide the arcs so they would come out right. Oh, the fascinating sensation when you allowed the drawing to make itself!

Planets, on the other hand, are locked in to their orbits by the physics of the universe. They don't wobble and jerk around, or drink too much Fanta Grape.

This program by Howard Arrington makes their orbits visible in relation to each other, and I find their secret symmetries incredibly beautiful. Not just the patterns, but the fact that they exist - direct evidence of order in the overwhelming complexity of the universe.

Via a blog post at The Long Now Foundation

Visit Ensign Software's webpage to see more orbit pairings