Julie Heffernan is a champion of women, a loving mother, an avid walker, an insightful educator, an adventurous trespasser, an avid theater-goer, and a fantastic painter. Recently inspired by politics, Heffernan has found strength and inspiration in educating her children about our society’s vast wealth of strong female figures. From attorney and academic Anita Hill, the writer and director Jane Campion, to the steadfast environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill, Heffernan’s passion for heroic femmes shines through her work.
Heffernan utilizes the traditional form of oil painting on canvas in order to create each of her lush and intricately detailed worlds. Her sense of self transforms into a variety of personas and can be seen throughout her work.
Heffernan was born in Peoria, Illinois, and was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Within Heffernan’s childhood home hung a painting of a long-haired man. He had an extremely intense gaze, and Heffernan realized this object was important before fully understanding why. It served as the only art object in her childhood home. As a kiddo, she loved to read the Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Wizard of OZ. She grew up amidst the words of Louisa May Alcott, Joni Mitchell, and The Flying Nun.
Heffernan derives the majority of her influence from books, trees, walking, and mind-drifting.
In a dreamy world, Heffernan would make artwork in a palace populated with huge climbing trees and big rocks. There would be a river running through the middle of this indoor forest, which would end in a deep pool.
She likes to begin each day with a long walk through the back paths of Prospect Park, or up into the Ohayo Mountain in Woodstock, New York. If she’s not painting, then she is reading all day. She most recently finished a book titled Overstory by the writer Richard Powers.
“I read somewhere that the brain secretes stories, like the liver secretes bile.”
What’s the last dream you can remember?
“I was in an orchard, picking a peach—but CLOSE UP the peach was full of roiling, glistening bugs.”
How do you wish to die?
“Setting myself on fire with a bunch of older women on the front steps of the Supreme Court—if they overturn Roe v. Wade.”
Do you believe in ghosts?
“No, but I wish they existed.”
Your favorite virtue?
Your main fault?
If she could, Heffernan would advise her younger self not to doubt herself so much, and not to be afraid to talk to people she admires.
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