Artist finds inspiration in her photography | Arts and Theatre

Julie Collins remembers when she thought it was too late to become an artist.

So she went to school for photography, not knowing her artwork would develop from her photos.

Now, visitors to Gallery 92 West in Fremont can see the results of Collins’ artistic journey in a new show called “Beauty Everywhere.” The public is invited to a free reception for the artist, from 5-7 p.m. Friday in the Fremont Area Art Association building, 92 W. Sixth St.

In Collins’ artwork, a peacock peers out from a background of rich color. A tiger yawns in one photograph and a butterfly hovers over flowers in another.

Looking back, Collins traces the origins of her art.

“I always wanted to be an artist as a kid,” the Omaha woman said.

But she thought it was too late to pursue art so she studied photography instead.

That photography would become the inspiration for her paintings.

When creating her work, Collins starts by playing music and looking at her photographs, noticing shapes, lines and composition.

“There’s a saying, ‘Dance like no one is watching,’ and that’s what made me be able to become an artist,” she said. “I paint like no one’s going to look at it and so it comes from a place within that is safe. I’m not really painting with the pressure of having to sell it or please other people with it.

“It seems like my best work comes out of that space.”

Collins did go back to college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she pursued a degree in studio art.

“I learned a lot about basic elements and composition and unity, which I think really helped make my art flow better,” she said. “Now, I get my inspiration from the photos I take and they’re kind of evolving toward more of an abstract avenue, which is kind of freeing.”

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