Step into the world of Juliana Loomer (also known as Dragedalen Art), where magic, romanticism, and dark surrealism collide with ubiquitous force and then nurture the enchantment of one another. Acquaint your imagination with each protagonist as they peer from their mysterious surroundings, inviting you to share in their journey.
With distinct symbolism and emotional deliverance, her digital paintings communicate a story waiting to unfold.
Juliana Loomer has worked as a digital artist in the entertainment industry in California making artwork for major feature films for many years. With a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Academy of Art University, and experience in the high-expectation world of visual effects, Juliana has developed a painting style that not only fools the eye with the illusion of reality, but also inspires the heart.
“My skills were tested and refined in the film industry in California, making real others visions and dreams, but the time has come to manifest my own dreams. I came to Norway in 2008 on a dare to follow the signposts from my visions and paintings. A dream does not become reality through magic alone; it takes hard work. I hope you can see the dedication to my work in the results.“
Interview with Juliana Loomer
Thank you so much for taking time to share with our readers, Juliana. Was there anything from your upbringing that fed your creativity and led to your artistic journey?
I grew up in Northern California and spent every free minute wandering the coastal trails in the fog. When you spend a lot of time in nature, and especially in moody coastal weather, it begins to work on your imagination and soul in a tragic or romantic way. You hear old stories of shipwrecks, lost spirits, even strange creature stories (Bigfoot) from your friends and family, so there is really no way, if you are artistically inclined, not to be inspired.
I think reading the book Mists of Avalon really rocked my psyche as a teenager and I wanted my life full of feminine magic and mystery. If you have never read this book it is about Morgaine, a priestess of the old ways, who is living in the transition period between the end of the pagan age and the rise of the Roman Empire in England. It is about the fading of the old ways into the mists of time and how it affected the characters and politics of the day. Heavy stuff. I think this book has unconsciously influenced every minute of every day of my life.
What is the most integral part of your work in terms of visual expression, style, and narrative?
I believe in multiple-dimensional reality, and I made (or found) my way to the world of the old ways described above; a life very much saturated in and dedicated to the reverence of natural energies and archetypal subjects for my work. This is everything to me and no story is more important for me to tell.
Professionally, I ended up in the film industry doing visual effects art and background painting. I learned visual storytelling in a realistic way, so that has influenced the expression of my work. I want there to be a sense of realism in what I paint. I want you to see the life in the eyes of my subjects, see their mood, see what haunts them because they are haunted and I wouldn’t be interacting with them if they weren’t still here for a reason.
How has it changed and evolved over time?
Well, I only started painting for myself (not painting professionally) about a year ago, so I guess the only way to describe what has changed over the past year is that the subjects I paint are becoming more “clear”; Their personalities richer. Their stories revealed in more detail.
You have some current and upcoming events… a group show at the OOSB in August and an artist talk and show at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space, Venice, Italy, in October-November. What can you tell us about those and how did you prepare for them?
I currently have work at Aeon Gallery in Illinois, which was a lot to prepare for, not artistically but logistically, as I live in the mountains in Norway and many shipping companies are not too keen on shipping art internationally.
Out of Step Books Gallery will be much easier as I am sending existing work to them for their grand opening in Oregon this month.
Venice, at THE ROOM, will be different. I am exhibiting during the Biennale, which is a HUGE deal for me and the subject of the show will be Visions & Consciousness. I am creating some special pieces for that show and will be giving a presentation of them as well. It is one thing to make work and hope people will respond positively, but it is a whole other thing to talk about it, revealing your most secret inspiration and being prepared to be rejected or appreciated. But that is the art game. Haha.
Describe your favorite place on earth. In what way is it inspirational to the creation of your artwork?
In 2008, I reached full burn-out professionally (after working many years of 15 hour days). I took a month off to rest and see what I wanted to do next. During that time I was unable to sleep and after two weeks of intense insomnia I began to see – or hallucinate – visitations with a man who stood by my bed. The man I saw would only let me sleep if I wrote down a story he had to tell me. Since I was desperate, I agreed, and in 4 weeks I had a 600 page book about a woman who travels from California to Norway and all the things that happened to her that change her life (Child of the Jotun, on Amazon and iTunes).
After writing this book, all my friends told me I had to go to Norway to see if what I had written was real. I saved up and took my first trip to Scandinavia. About 5 minutes after walking around Bergen, Norway, I knew I had to sell my house and move to Norway – but no clue why! Coming to Norway changed my life for real, and now I live in harmony with nature on a traditional farm in the mountains following old ways but with the upgrade of fiber internet. Haha.
Norway is one of those places where more people practice the old ways than traditional religions, but it is done very privately. The connection between spirit and humans is easily accessible, as if the energy of modern life hasn’t washed out the doorway between the worlds. Now we live on a farm that has gnomes we have seen with the naked eyes on one occasion, a spirit of a milkmaid who walks a forgotten mountain path across the property, and an old lady who loves it when the radio in the barn is turned on. If you somehow don’t see these spirits, the epic views of the mountains and the dragon’s breath fog that flows through the valley here will get your artistic juices flowing. Impossible not to be inspired here.
When looking at your work, I notice it lends itself to a magical realism with dark contemporary twists. There is an obvious emotional deliverance and expression communicated through each of your protagonists. So, I’m curious… what do you feel is the most significant aspect of your work and what do you hope each of your digital paintings convey to the viewer?
I want to viewer to feel (even a drop) of this intense world I live in now; the connection to powerful nature energies and spiritual personalities. I want the viewer to walk away thinking that my perception of the world could actually be a reality that they could experience too.
What has been the most challenging piece you have worked on to date? What about it challenged you?
I am just starting this body of work now. As you may have surmised, I have been very comfortable in the shadows, interacting with the beings that exist there. But now, light is beginning to build up inside me and it is beginning to form how it wants me to express it. I have no idea what the body of work will look like, but it signifies a huge change in me; I finally am ready to walk in the light.
I love that Assassin’s Creed quote, “We work in the dark to serve the light.”
That is a perfect description of my artistic vision.
How do you explore and maintain the integrity of your vision each time you begin a new piece?
This isn’t really something I think about. I am not doing this for anyone else but myself and if I am satisfied then it was a job well done. If it resonates with people, awesome. If no one is interested, then ok, maybe someone in the future will care.
The presence of social media seems to be a pivotal mainstay for personal brands and business owners. What role do you feel art and the artist have in today’s society through this outlet?
Social media has rocked my world! We have a duty to express an authentic vision of our vision or our world through our art. Humans have such untapped depth. It is a human obligation to share your vision with the world. If I walk into one more art gallery and see a portrait of Marilyn Monroe I think I’m going to lose it. Marilyn was amazing, but we have so much more to express in our culture than celebrity. Probably why there has been so much cultural stagnation because only artists are the ones building the picture of the future potential, and no one was paying attention, until social media. Now, all ideas are available to anyone with access to a computer.
Julie, this has been such a pleasure, and truly fascinating! One last question… you glance down to your crystal ball, what do you see? What’s in store for you?
Haha. Finally I am living in the now, not worried about the future very much. But if I am forced to put a hope into the future, I only see dedication to love and creativity. What form that takes is to be determined.
Bella – Thank you for your interview!