Dr Andrew Edney Bursaries Announced: Interview with Julia Fry

We are delighted to announce the three recipients of this year’s Arts Society South Downs Dr Andrew Edney Bursaries, which are awarded each year to Outside In artists resident in Sussex and Hampshire to support artists’ practice and development. The bursaries of up to £500 will be available to apply for until 2029. The three recipients this year are artists Julia Fry, Clarke Reynolds and Andrea Mindel and we are running interviews with each artist, beginning with Julia Fry.  

Triangle Lines and Sunlit Patches (2020) – 51.5 x 40.5 cm – Acrylic on canvas – Julia Fry

When did you start making art?

I’ve made art since childhood, but I stopped as a teenager when my art teacher at school said I wasn’t good enough to do art at ‘O’ Level. I started again in my 30s after attending an Artist’s Way course.

How would you describe your work?

My work seems to fall into two areas: one is describing in abstract, non verbal ways, how I feel; the other is self-soothing, often by painting dots. Regardless of which area I’m working with there is a desire to learn and improve my technique by noticing what I could do differently and trying things out.

Why and when did you join Outside In?

I first heard about Outside In from another artist in 2009. I don’t remember when I joined. It took me a while to be psychologically ready to receive help. I’ve had a gallery on Outside In for some years but I don’t remember when I first created it.

How would you describe your journey with the charity?

It’s been a gradual build up. I’ve been reading the newsletters for years but still would not allow myself to apply for things until last year when I applied for the Step Up Leading Workshops course, which changed my life. During that course I made friends with other artists and we meet regularly to support each other and share ideas and opportunities. It’s been such a blessing to have these people in my life. With this kind of support I’ve been able to apply for other Outside In opportunities, like delivering a workshop at Investec and this bursary. Without support from Outside In and my artist friends, I don’t think I would have made such a concerted effort to get my art out into the world. I’m so grateful.

What has been your standout moment as an artist so far?

My standout moment so far is receiving this bursary. It has taken me a lot of psychological work to get to the point where I’m ready to properly connect with Curators in the art world. Even then my inner critic tries to stop me! But receiving this bursary tells me that people believe in me and that’s empowering and inspiring. 

How do you plan to spend the bursary funds?

I’m spending the bursary on mentor costs and a membership to a-N. The mentor runs courses, artist meetings, and a private Facebook group. The courses give me small tasks I can do to get my art in front of the audience it needs. The meetings provide inspiration and access to curators and other influential people in the art world. The Facebook group gives me a place to share successes and failures, get feedback, ask questions and celebrate/commiserate with other artists. 

What difference do you hope it will make to your work?

I hope it will give me confidence to know what to do and say with curators, and invite them to studio visits, ultimately resulting in exhibitions and buying my work. Other aspects are building a social media presence, selling online, and thinking creatively about where to hold exhibitions. I also hope my work will progress with feedback and inspiration from the other artists in the group. 

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