There are many ‘layers’ to Julie Nygaard’s photo-art creations in both literal and figurative senses of the word – layers of meaning, of personal trauma, symbolism, belief and imagery. But what it all comes down to are the layers she assembles in the digital realm of Adobe Photoshop.
“I’m like a photographer-painter, I guess is the best way to describe it,” she said of her works, which will be featured at Rainforest Arts from June through August.
Most of us are familiar with the term ‘photoshopped’, a digital manipulation of photographic realism to make the world brighter, more vibrant and prettier than life; Nygaard pushes Photoshop and other digital media way beyond the limits of subtle tweaking, transforming her imagery into altered realities that often have a mystic quality to them.
“I am inspired by life,” Nygaard says. “Life is art.”
Her fascination with photography began early. “It was quite an incredible feeling to see my work, my way of seeing a world through a lens, captured in a photograph,” she said. A serious car crash in 2006, and a subsequent life threatening illness, convinced her to make art her life-focus.
Nygaard wants people to ‘walk away with their own vision in their minds’ of what her work represents. Works like Strength, an image of a white wing against a concrete surface, have a profound impact. “People love this image. It’s giving them hope, and it’s giving them strength during this time,” she said, referring to the COVID pandemic.
“It means so much to me, that I know my image is giving somebody else hope and understanding and love and support, and that gentle hug that we’re all needing at this time.”
The importance of art to society can’t be underestimated, Nygaard believes. She also thinks there’s an artist in all of us, just waiting to be unleashed.
“For me, being an artist, there’s no word to describe how much it means to me to be able to express myself, and to be able to share my images, and my work with other people,” she said.
Julie Nygaard’s Through My Eyes – A Visual Journey show will be Featured June through August at Rainforest Arts, 9781 Willow Street, Chemainus. There’s more information, including a video, in the ‘News’ section of RainforestArts.ca, or by calling 250-246-4861, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.