Julia Powell, Artist

Q: As a female artist, how challenging is it in a male-dominated art market? 

It is challenging. I have experienced more gender bias in the art industry than I ever did as an attorney. I have been told to change my name to J S Powell, and remove my photograph from Instagram and my website because I could charge more if people thought I was a man. I have been told several times to pose alongside my paintings with fewer clothes on and to “wear makeup more often and try to look pretty”.

The thing is: while this is happening, there is also a strong group of (mostly female) collectors and curators who are trying to change this---both with women artists and with other underrepresented artist groups. It’s important to them to collect work from female artists and this is tremendously helpful to me.   

Q: Your journey from law to art is an inspiring lesson for anyone longing to make the switch from C-level to artist/creative. What advice can you share for others looking to make a switch?  

My biggest advice is to surround yourself with people who think you are very talented because even if you don’t think you are (or you get rejected a fair amount in the beginning), you are championed by your friends and family.

My other piece of advice is to work very, very hard and then if you are lucky enough to get a break, you can truly take advantage because you have done the work.

Q: You have a tremendous Instagram following of over 85,000. How much time do you spend on it every day? And how much influence has it had in the growth and success of your business?

Instagram is essentially my entire business. I work with three galleries nationally and it’s great to work with them (all female-run) and get their advice and input. But in terms of sales, I earn over 98% of my income from Instagram-related inquiries. I also get inquiries and requests to teach workshops, participate in artist residencies, and participate in national shows---all through Instagram. Every single magazine interview or spread I have done is also because of Instagram. I spend about forty-five minutes a day on Instagram now but when I was growing my brand and had under 20K followers, I spent about three hours a day on it. It was a total slog and incredibly annoying but I considered it a job. And it’s paid off tremendously.

LEARN MORE ABOUT JULIA AT: https://www.juliaspowell.com/