Julian Graef

My first inspiration for painting came from László Moholy-Nagy and the Bauhaus movement. The style presents clean-cut lines and industrial aesthetic, creating a sense of order that projects calm even though it resides in this very industrial sentiment. I aim to keep the stark and industrial aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement but also introduce a sense of warmth, softening its approach to the viewer.

My other primary inspiration comes from my college studies in music. While learning to improve my performance under pressure, I began learning about meditation. I started using meditation to improve concentration, performance and musicality on stage. Part of my meditation practice was learning to keep my focus on a single object, as a way to stay present and to clear the mind. The object could be anything from a picture to a cabinet or, what I often used, a candle flame. To clear my mind, I focused only on the properties of the flame- its intensity, its behavior, its movement- and tuned out all other thoughts. These paintings grew from this notion of keeping complete focus on one thing. The pieces in this painting series were created intended for the same purpose, meditation; they are meant to be focused upon and observed carefully to keep one’s mind clear and in the present moment.

With an influence from Gustave Klimt and his use of gold leaf to capture light, canvases in the Meditation series are treated with an iridescent paint that captures and reflects light, giving the work a different appearance throughout the day as the sun changes position. My intention with each painting in the Meditation series is that through concentration on it, the work begins to wrap itself around you and become a new world for the viewer. I have found that people often see very different things in the pieces and my hope is that as your attention rests on each work, your eye will begin to see more details, revealing layers and images, removing you from your normal world.

Get in touch with me to place an order, author a commission, or just chat about art.