Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Reposted from the Record Review, article by Jackie Roman:
April 03, 2021
Pound Ridge, NY
Julia Vining was riding out the pandemic, adjusting to life back at her parent’s house in Pound Ridge as well as any New York City transplant could. She enjoyed spending time with her family and being closer to nature. Yet the artist yearned for a connection with other creatives.
“Galleries are closed, shared studio spaces are vacant, art classes are on hold,” said Ms. Vining, 24, in an interview. “I felt like it was time for me to develop a new kind of creative network, to rekindle that creative conversation I missed.”
A few months ago, Ms. Vining contacted visual artists from her alma mater, Davidson College in North Carolina, and artists whose work she admired on Instagram to pitch the idea of an artist collective. In that short time, Ms. Vining has assembled a group of 15 emerging artists known as the “Poppy Collective,” a global community that includes artists such as the Brazilian-based Adarbakar, and local residents like Bedford-based Grace Drake. The collective has become a vibrant community where artists discuss their creative process and develop collaborative projects with one another, all via Zoom.
Ms. Vining recently launched the Poppy Collective’s website, where members of the public can buy directly from any of the group’s artists. Since mid-February, each artist has sold at least one piece of work on the site, according to Ms. Vining, with the price of work ranging from $15 to $1,500. Maura Tangum, for example, sells handmade clothing crafted out of vintage materials at prices starting at $195, while a print from photographer Judson Womack is $45. One Poppy artist, Emily Furr, has gone viral since the collective launched, bringing lots of eyeballs to the Poppy Collective site.
“The reaction has been great,” Ms. Vining said.
In addition to running the Poppy Collective, Ms. Vining also holds down a day job as a design assistant at Tapestry, a fashion company. “It’s a very busy job but, I don’t know, I just really missed the actual art aspect of things,” she said. That’s not a jab at the craft of interior design — “it’s very fun and it’s very creative,” Ms. Vining added — but rather to say, she likes to be more hands on with her artwork.
She is most at home in a paint-stained smock with a brush in hand. Ms. Vining’s personal portfolio contains several large-scale mixed media paintings on canvas, with differing textures, colors and patterns drawing the eye. These works are what largely make up her “Anthropoda” series, which appears influenced by the abstract art movement. Other works, such as her “Guilty Pleasures” series, evokes the pop art vibes of Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans.”
Ms. Vining also picked up metalworking in the pandemic and has begun crafting jewelry. “I love learning new mediums and new techniques,” she said.
Ms. Vining said her recent work has been heavily influenced by the natural surroundings of her parent’s Pound Ridge home. Her family moved to Pound Ridge from the Albany area in 2016, so she finds herself constantly discovering new sources of inspiration. “I love going on walks. We have these beautiful moss trails behind my house that I like to explore,” Ms. Vining said.
She has also become fond of painting outdoors, free from the confines of a small city apartment — albeit just temporarily. Ms. Vining said she is aiming to return to New York City in a couple of weeks. She plans to come back to Pound Ridge later this spring, teaching outdoor art classes for the Pound Ridge Elementary School’s after-school enrichment program.
With many COVID-19 restrictions still in place, the Poppy Collective will continue to operate remotely for the foreseeable future. Even when things open up, Ms. Vining said that given the collective’s global membership, its meetings will continue to be streamed via Zoom.
This will include new plans for monthly art critiques, virtual studio tours and an artist speaker series. One day, with enough support, Ms. Vining would like to open a gallery space for the artists to physically present and sell their work. But for now, she said, “it’s nice to inspire other artists.”
For more information, visit thepoppycollective.com.