Tale of three studios

The many workspaces of artist Julie Beyer

By Bill Franz

I first heard of Julie Beyer when she was the featured artist at the Ann Arbor Street Fair, one of the top art fairs in the country. When I heard that the featured artist at this fair lived a few blocks from my home, I had to visit.

At that time, Beyer painted in a studio in the basement of her Oakwood home. Her art combined old photos, vintage fabrics, her children’s artwork, plus various types of paint.  I asked Julie about the beginning of her art career.

“My first artwork was painted to fill an empty wall in my house,” Beyer says. ”A local interior decorator saw it and asked me to make paintings for some of her clients. I applied to enter the Ann Arbor Street Fair without really understanding how prestigious it was. I still can’t believe I not only was accepted, but was chosen the featured artist.”

By the time of my second visit, Beyer had moved onto a new space in Front Street in a building filled with other artists. This new studio was large and filled with light. It couldn’t be more different from her basement workspace. I asked about the many photos of eyes on her worktable.

“Most of my paintings are about family, and I always have old photos of my family members in my studio. I sometimes enlarge them, cut them out and paste them into paintings. When I use eyes in an artwork, I know whose eyes they were.”

The third time I visited Julie she was painting at home again—this time in a converted second floor bedroom.

“I still use my Front Street studio to paint sometimes, and I will sell my work out of that space,” Beyer says. “But I now do most of my painting here. I missed having my kids around to see the paintings I’m working on and hearing their suggestions.”

I asked Julie why she continued to sell at art fairs.

“Art fairs are a lot of work, but I love them,” Beyer says. “I love meeting people and talking to them about my art, and I especially like it when people send me photos that show my paintings in their homes.

“This summer I will be at three or four art fairs, including the Ann Arbor Art Fair July 21-24,” she continues “There are also two places online where people can buy my work. One company is selling prints of my work, and the other is selling large murals that will cover a wall.”

Bill Franz retired from a business career and became a volunteer photographer doing projects for many local nonprofits.  His photos of people at work have been shown in art exhibitions across Ohio and neighboring states.  Find out more at billfranz17.com/about.

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Bill Franz retired from a business career and became a volunteer photographer doing projects for many local nonprofits.  His photos of people at work have been shown in art exhibitions across Ohio and neighboring states.  Find out more at billfranz17.com/about. 

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