"It is being where I begin to paint: capturing an emotion, a moment, a state. My themes are the multi-layered relationships between men and women, feminism, the youth, beauty and consumerism craze, which I often stage with irony, the disorientation in a time of seemingly unlimited possibilities - and the innocence of children who have to expose themselves to all this far too early.
The Photoshop world of the media is a fabulous source of inspiration! Because the advertising industry will continue to work on us every day and make us believe that we can have and own everything, we "just have to want", for the little happiness just pull out the credit card. The constant brainwashing ensures that we believe this bullshit and do and consume so many things to live up to an ideal that has been artificially created.
We can even manage love and friendship online, we collect a thousand friends on Facebook - and stare stoically at the display of our smartphone in the streetcar, hoping that no one will talk to us.
Are we still allowed and able to simply be, or do we no longer have the right to do so? And where has all the time gone, when we are getting older and have so much more free time than ever before? In my painting I try to process and express all these contemporary tendencies. For this purpose, in addition to painting, I choose a certain piece of music for each of my works - like a film score that accompanies me throughout the creative process.
Sometimes a lyric inspires me, sometimes a melody - and the tempo of the music in turn influences my painting style, which is perhaps the reason I work in different styles.
However, I don't attach much importance to a particular style; the painting is allowed to move and change quietly during the work and to deviate from the original concept, otherwise it would be boring. Once the picture expresses what I think it should express, it's done."
Contrasts, contradictions and her own emotional world run through the works of Julia Schröder. As a canvas she uses concrete slabs, an unusual and cool material that exerts a fascinating effect on her during the working process. The idea to work with concrete came to her a few years ago on a trip to Shanghai, when she suddenly found herself in front of a huge concrete wall.
The manual manufacturing process produces exclusively unique pieces with a matte or mirrored surface in sizes of 20, 40 and 80 cm, weighing about 0.8, 2.3 and 10 kg. The concrete slabs and their fastening system were developed by the artist with the assistance of an engineer. Using airbrush technology, she sprays on graphically reduced, fragmentary forms. The stencils for these are designed on the computer beforehand. "In the process, I make sure that the shapes are as geometric as possible, consisting of parallel lines and symmetrical circular shapes," says Schröder.
Hidden is the title of her first collection. With a provocative look, the faces challenge their viewers to "Hey, look at me!" The figures want to be noticed. At the same time, they seem to hide behind a facade. Upon closer inspection, the works reveal a message: your greatest happiness is often hidden behind your deepest fear. "It's a hidden message to the viewer that out of the feeling of fear can come great happiness," the artist explains.
Seemingly contrasting positions collide, as in her Popstars collection, where Schröder takes up the theme of art and marketing. 40 artists cooperate in marketing with a very successful brand. Each work features an original knibbel picture from the 1982 collection, each representing a song by one of the 40 artists. On the gaudy panels, reminiscent of Pop Art, the essential elements of the songs are translated into colorful shapes and typographies.
Schröder's works leave plenty of room for the viewer's own interpretations, free associations and memories. "The interaction of the cool, hard material with the depiction of human emotions fascinates me very much and would not be possible on a normal canvas in this way," says the artist. "The cold enters into a relationship with something warm, from which a kind of symbiosis emerges."
Julia Schröder was born in 1980 in Freiburg im Breisgau. After finishing her studies, she moved to Hamburg in 2008, where she has been working as an artist ever since.