Sign up for our Newsletter

Credit: Photo courtesy of Julie VanGorden.

Julie Van Gorden may have only recently graduated from Southold High School, but she already has a jumpstart on her fine arts career.

Julie spent her senior year balancing high school with playing on the school soccer team, working a part-time job and commuting to Manhattan in order to attend art classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Now, Julie is balancing two jobs where she creates art for clients. In the fall, she’ll attend FIT full-time to pursue her passion in fine arts.

We recently caught up with Julie to talk about what inspires her.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to pursue art professionally?

A: I spent my childhood drawing for hours at the kitchen table and my dad, an auto body mechanic, would mask out cars and I would paint on them. During my junior year of high school, when it was time to think about a career, it had to be art. I know I want to be able to paint and show the world something beautiful.

Q: T​ell me a little about your year taking classes at FIT.

A: It truly showed me the competition that is out there. What was really outstanding to me was how personal my classes were. I was often one-on-one with my professors. Even in Manhattan, I found comfort in my classroom and was able to walk out of my class able to use the things I learned in the real world.

Q: You’ve decided to attend FIT full-time. What area, specifically, will you be studying?

A: I will be studying fine arts with a focus in advertising. My dream job is to create billboards. Right now, they do catch your eye but it’s all digital. I want to be the one to make them hand-drawn, to make them pretty.

Q: Growing up on the North Fork, you had a bounty of picturesque landscapes to draw. How has the North Fork influenced your art?

A: In addition to the beautiful scenery­, I think it’s the people. You don’t meet connections like you do here anywhere else. In Manhattan, it’s more about the money and competition, but here, [through] connections, I’ve built so many genuine relationships.

VanGorden paints a mural at Goldberg's Famous bagels in Mattituck. (Credit: Julie VanGorden, courtesy)
Van Gorden paints a mural at Goldberg’s Famous bagels in Mattituck.

Q: I’ve noticed that you’ve painted a few murals. Is there a mural you’re especially proud of?

A: I just finished a chalkboard mural for Goldberg’s Bagels in Mattituck. I did a backdrop of wine and wheat fields.

Q: What advice would you give someone with an artistic gift who is interested in becoming a professional artist?

A: I would say that it takes yourself to go out on a limb. I signed up for my FIT classes without telling my parents, paid for them and commuted into Manhattan alone every week. If it’s your vision, you need to make it happen yourself.

Q: Is there a specific artist who you admire?

A: It would be my high school art teacher, Mr. [Daniel] Gosnell. At FIT, there are professors for every aspect of art:­ art history, drawing, painting. And I had one art teacher who taught me everything. He’s watched me grow and he’s been such a great mentor.

Q: What is your favorite medium?

A: I do everything,­ but definitely acrylics. I just started with oil and that is not my favorite at all.

Q: Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?

A: I ​see myself either in Manhattan or abroad. I see myself working toward billboard art and/or creating art for people’s homes, which I’ve already started to do.


Meet Brette Rosen