If the title “working artist” calls to mind the image of a smock-swathed aesthete arched over an easel in the afternoon light, serenely surveying their subject … spot on! That’s pretty much it. J/k: full time artist-ing is a lot of elbow grease and go-getterdom, and our 20x200 artist fam cumulatively possesses enough hustle to give Van McCoy a run for his money. A perfect example of permabusy gung-ho artist gumption: Julia Rothman.
When she’s not sketching ballerinas or surveying the crowd scene at the Whitney Museum for future art fodder, she’s soaking in her NYC surroundings, drawing other everyday people, places and things. Take her Guess These New York City Elevators and New York’s Clocks Ring in the New Year features in The New Yorker, the latter of which is also included in an exhibition at CUNY’s Lehman Gallery through May 5th.
Unsurprisingly, other prominent NYC publications are hip to Rothman’s playful, expressive artwork. She recently created the cute AF visual accompaniment for the cover story of the New York Times Real Estate section (trigger warning for the dog obsessed: her pupper masterpieces are squeal-worthy). When her art’s not appearing in New York pubs, she’s teaching Surface Design at a New York institution, School of Visual Arts, and chairing the Society of Illustrators 60th Annual Exhibition. All in a day’s work for this wonder woman...
Something we're super into: Rothman's especially invested in fostering female artists. She and artist Wendy MacNaughton co-founded Women Who Draw, an open directory of female illustrators, artists and cartoonists. (Keep an eye out for the second Women Who Draw x Pottery Barn collab, soon to come.) Another Rothman recreation focussed on women artists is Ladies Drawing Night, which she runs along with fellow illustrators Leah Goren and Rachael Cole. This drink n' draw sesh for the female-identifying only is so good, in fact, they made a book about it. The book’s full of inspo to get you going on your own creative pursuits, and you can follow along through ten fun evenings of artmaking.
Speaking of books … Rothman also illustrated a children’s book that’s coming out this spring through Phaidon. The story follows a little Brick on a mission to figure out what she wants to “be” — an apartment, a cottage, a temple, a castle — and it’s all rendered in black, white and reds. And while you’re shopping for a kiddo, you might consider the bedding Rothman designed for Hygge & West. Blessedly, it’s also suited for your grown-up napping needs.
Suffice it to say, Rothman is low-key killing it. Her distinctive art style feels delightfully spontaneous, like something she can whip out as a secret weapon, and her enthusiasm for what she does is infectious. We love this about her and her work, and we love that she’s actively built a community for and around other people who can or wanna wield their art in a similar manner. Few people have the talent and drive to be an accomplished artist in the way that Rothman is, but she’s also an amazing evangelist for the idea that drawing is an incredible way to experience and interpret the world around you.
With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200