Award-winning Farragut artist, ‘workaholic,’ seeks gallery perch
Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Staff Reports | farragutpress
Award-winning artist and former farragutpress employee Julie Bernal has been a graphic designer in some form since she learned how to color inside the lines.
She has known since childhood that she wanted “to be somebody.” As winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Arts & Culture Alliance’s Top 40 Exhibition for her painting “Canoes – Still Water,” and a graphic designer for one of Knoxville’s premier public and media relations firms, Moxley Carmichael, she certainly achieved that. She also was Skirt! Knoxville’s “5 Things on My Life List” profile for August.
“I’m a workaholic. I set goals for myself, I always have,” Bernal said. “I’ve always had the goal to have one of my paintings in a gallery. When I started doing graphic design, I kind of stopped painting. I painted a lot in college and three or four years went by, and I didn’t paint at all.
“Last year, I started thinking about it again, and I still had this goal that I hadn’t achieved yet and I needed to achieve it!” she said of creating her award-winning painting.
Even as a child, Bernal understood that there were more places for art than just on white paper and in coloring books. Her earliest memory of utilizing graphic design was from when she was age 6 and working on an art project for Valentine’s Day.
“It was a collection of different cards,” Bernal said. “They were little hearts that I cut out in different shapes with all different sayings. Then I took it to another level and created a package for them out of construction paper and tape, and then I had plastic wrap for the cover.
“I made a bunch of them. My mom was like, ‘you should try selling them, you know, go around the neighborhood,’ and I did. My neighbors thought they were cute and were amused and bought some for around 25 cents.”
Art really didn’t take over her life, though, until she came to Farragut High School. She enrolled in FHS’s fine arts courses, and when she was a sophomore, one of her teachers encouraged her class to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. When Bernal discovered graphic arts, she knew that was what she wanted to do.
She got a job at farragutpress as a graphic designer while eventually obtaining her degree at Pellissippi State Community College. A few months after graduation, she was promoted to head of production.
“I’m driven by deadlines, so I love that intense, fast pace. I thrive in that stressful environment,” she said. “I loved laying out the paper. It’s great, because it’s fitting together a puzzle, it’s challenging, it’s exciting and you never get bored with that. But I wanted to be able to do something that was a little bit more out of the box and that had more projects involved.”
That’s when she joined Moxley Carmichael’s graphic design team.
She does a little bit of everything, including designing Web sites, logos, brochures, annual reports and advertisements. She’s worked with clients such as Pilot, Premier Surgical and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
“My day is always busy,” she said with a smile. “You have anywhere from five to 15 projects that you have to work on. But they all have different deadlines, and you have to be able to manage them.”
Since achieving her goal of having her art publicly displayed, Bernal’s upping the ante. She has decided to create a collection of 15 large paintings, even though the idea of a larger canvas scared her. She wants to finish them by the end of August and hopefully show them in a solo exhibition and sell them.
“Anytime something scares me, that is when I want to tackle it.”
For more information, please contact the farragutpress at (865) 675-6397, or visit www.farragutpress.com.