Princess Julia: the London artist and subcultural royal on why we transform our faces
By Zoe Whitfield | Art | 1 December 2016

‘Tate Modern’ (2016) Julia Fodor aka Princess Julia

Top image: ‘Tate Modern’ (2016) Julia Fodor aka Princess Julia

“There is no theme as such, these are just five artists that we are excited about,” remarks Pippa Brooks co-owner of M.Goldstein about Group Show, the gallery’s new art exhibition kicking off this week in East London.  

M.Goldstein’s latest exhibition showcases five artists who, perhaps refreshingly, aren’t part and parcel of a singular scene or aesthetic. Brought together simply on account of taste, the exhibition features work across different mediums created at various times by the likes of Julia Fodor (aka Princess Julia), Nicholas Abrahams and Kingsley Ifill, as well as an exciting new collaborative project from Benjamin Kirchhoff and Andy Bradin.

Ahead of the exhibition opening, London subcultural royalty and artist Princess Julia reflects on creating make-up looks for Charlie Porter’s birthday and tells us why the face is her favourite thing to paint.

‘Eddie’ (2016) Julia Fodor aka Princess Julia

Zoe Whitfield: Hey Julia. So what’s inspiring you in 2016?
Julia Fodor (Princess Julia): What a year of ups and downs it’s been! Things that inspire me are the usual sort of moments, the stuff my friends get up to, the stories they tell in their creative lives; as a writer I’m always interested and inspired. It’s not all doom and gloom I hope, in the general social climate either, mind you it’s a struggle wading through it all at times but that in itself can be inspiring. 

ZW: What first led you to painting, and what, if it exists, is the relationship like between your art work and your other careers (as a DJ and writer)?
JF: It’s as if I’ve always been scribbling away in some sort of form, painting is like an extension of writing to me. I did do an art foundation course in the 90s, which led me to experiment with various other mediums – photography, film and sculpture – but I always go back to the brush for some reason. DJing is also a way of creating a landscape, I should say soundscape really because you’re creating a mood in a space for people to react to.

‘Charlie’ (2016) Julia Fodor aka Princess Julia

“I’m fascinated by the way you can change your face via various mediums, like the way some of us are compelled to alter the face we are born with and what it says about the person.”

ZW: You seem to be drawn to portraiture specifically. What is it about people’s faces that excite you?
JF: The face is a canvas of expression, inner and outer. I’m fascinated by the way you can change your face via various mediums, like the way some of us are compelled to alter the face we are born with and what it says about the person. 

 ZW: How did your involvement in M.Goldstein’s new show first come about?
JF: I walk past M.Goldstein’s nearly every day, it’s an interesting space where Nathaniel (Lee Jones) and Pippa (Brooks) are always reinventing its aesthetic with a strong sense of style. So when they asked me to be part of this group show it felt right, and I’m thrilled to be included with such great artists. 

ZW: Your work looks at the transformative power of make-up. How would you describe your own relationship with make-up?
JF: Of course I love make-up, on a personal level I won’t go out without any on! [laughs] That’s just me though. 

ZW: You’ve created four new pieces for the show. Can you tell me a bit about them, and the men who feature in the work?
JF: Yes, I’ve done four canvases, portraits of men who normally wouldn’t wear make-up. Initially I created various ideas or looks for a makeover party, so these portraits are a culmination of evidence ranging from sketches and photographs, leading me to these rather painterly works.

My subjects are artists, DJs and writers in their own fields of discipline – George Henry Longly, Prem Sahib and Eddie Peake – who are also the core members of club concept night, Anal House Meltdown, as well as much respected artists; I’m a great fan of their work to say the least. Charlie Porter, a writer and art collector who also DJs is part of the AHMD collective, it was for his birthday party that he asked me to create these looks. It was quite a revelation to examine this process and reveal a sense of transformation. I’m obsessed with the way people present themselves, I’m always rambling on about it. 

‘Tate Modern’ (2016) Julia Fodor aka Princess Julia

ZW: Sounds amazing. So what’s the best thing about being in a group show?
JF: I find it fascinating from the curator’s point of view, how via a group of artists an overview emerges, and strands form that together communicate a bigger picture. 

ZW: Finally, as a nod to 2k16, tell me this: someone takes a photo of one of your pieces and puts it on Instagram. What’s the best caption they could give it?
JF: #transformativepowers

M Goldstein‘s group show runs from 1st December until 14th December at 67 Hackney Rd, E2 8ET.

Follow Princess Julia on Twitter.


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