We had the good fortune of connecting with The Designosaur (aka Julia Williams) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi The Designosaur, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Self-discipline, passion, and creating even when I don’t feel inspired. I think self-discipline has been the most important one for having my own business. I’ve always been a type-A sort of person, very self-directed and motivated, which has translated really well into being a business owner. No one else is going to pick up your slack when you’re on your own, so you have to be completely dedicated and passionate about what you’re doing in order to have enough self-discipline to make it work, especially in the beginning. Belief in yourself is also a huge one – it’s hard to stay motivated without really feeling like what you’re doing is important and valuable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My artwork is super colorful, dynamic, and fun, while feeling otherworldly and expansive. Most people recognize my style because of my unique use of color. I’m most inspired by nature, space, and human expression. A lot of my work takes on the aesthetic of music festivals, taking inspiration from the visual cacophony of rainbow LEDs and lasers. I am proud that my artwork is a reflection of my other passions because it feels like a true expression of my inner self, and that makes my style unique to me. I always knew I would be an artist as a career, but when I got into high school I realized I should try to be practical about how to make that happen, so I went to school for graphic design and illustration. I worked as a designer/art director for several design agencies in Boulder after graduation, and slowly grew my illustration skills and freelance clients on the side. Having a regular 9-to-5 job allowed me to explore other interests, including outdoor sports like rock climbing and canyoneering, as well as dancing and going to music festivals, which ended up heavily influencing my personal artwork. A year and a half ago I quit my job to do freelance design work. I had been wanting to get into painting murals, and did a few in my home before I got the opportunity to paint at CRUSH Walls, which was a turning point in my career. It was my first spray-painted mural, and I took to the medium immediately and had so much fun. I realized that there is huge demand for murals and that people really respond well to my style of artwork at a large scale. After that experience, which was probably one of the most fulfilling of my life up to that point, I made it a point to paint as much as possible, applying to every public art opportunity that I could. This year I’ve made a majority of my income from murals and am barely doing any design work anymore. I’ve also been licensing artwork to festival apparel companies as another income stream, which I am excited about growing next year when festivals will be a thing again. It’s been amazing to learn that I can make the artwork that I am most passionate about making, and it’s a viable career. While I loved graphic design, I didn’t realize how much I was compromising. With murals and licensing artwork, I’m able to create my best work, and have been rewarded because of my passion.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them around RiNo to see all of the amazing murals! There’s so much great artwork in that part of the city, and it’s such a vibrant and fun area. Besides that, I’d definitely take them rock climbing in the flatirons and tubing down Boulder Creek. And of course, we can’t miss a chance to see a Red Rocks show.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband Adam Baerd has been my greatest support system throughout my journey. He’s a musician, and I can’t even begin to describe how nice it is to be supported by someone who truly understands what it’s like to have an all-consuming creative passion. He’s encouraged my art to grow in ways that I don’t think I would have ever allowed it to without his support, and he helps me feel good about taking bigger and bigger risks career-wise, that have really paid off for me.