Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up where you are at the moment?
I was born in Kawasaki, Japan to a Brazilian mother and Japanese father. Throughout my childhood, I moved back and forth between my parents’ countries but eventually decided to stay in Japan when I turned 15. I’m 25 now and see myself often traveling to other countries in pursuit of inspiration for my artwork. Although COVID has made traveling a lot harder, I took the opportunity to come to the US when an old friend made the offer to work together on a new exciting project.
How do you define beauty and what does it mean to you?
Beauty is in attitude, health, and natural features. A healthy person with a positive attitude who embraces their features without being concerned about the judgment of others. I’ve learned to love my mixed features, I don’t look entirely Japanese nor Brazilian, yet I think I’m beautiful!
Beyond working as a model, you are involved in a number of different creative pursuits. Tell us about what you are working on at the moment and how you balance them all?
Along with modeling, I’m working on releasing my very first clothing collection which features my artwork. I’m also doing some general consulting for PROM as they’re helping me develop the pieces for the collection. PROM has a big showroom space in Beverly Hills, which allows me to create new art pieces on a bigger scale. Having the shift of being able to prioritize creating new artwork balances out everything. I’m grateful for my modeling career and don’t want to stop anytime soon, I just want to shift the main focus to my creative side.
Being able to share your work and the process behind it through social media is a big part of being a young creative. Did the recent crash of multiple outlets influence you at all – or change the way you look at this aspect of your work?
I find it extremely important to keep my followers updated on what I’m working on at the moment. Still, as an old soul, I expect more reactions from having them see the final product, so sometimes I won’t post as much or will only show what I’m working on partially. It’s a difficult balance to find as some of my audience is very young and want to see what I’m doing on IG stories more often.
Respect the Karasu – what’s the name about and where do you see this project going?
Respect the Karasu (Karasu means crow/ raven in Japanese) is the name I came up with for my brand. Crows are often seen negatively in many cultures or myths, but they’re actually very smart creatures who deserve more respect. I can relate to crows in many ways: for instance, I may not remember your name after meeting you once, but I’ll forever remember your face.
This first capsule collection I’ve created is only the beginning of many more. For about five years now, I’ve had people asking me when I would start creating merchandise with my artwork. Rather than giving them a simple white T-shirt with a screen print of my artwork on the front, I wanted to give them something they could cherish and wear more as a fashion statement. This comes from the influence of being in the fashion industry for ten years and developing a need to prioritize quality if it’s my name or artwork involved.
How did the collaboration with PROM come about, and what is your vision for the launch/pop-up/exhibition?
It was an offer made by an old friend I met in Tokyo eight years ago. They were not only interested in creating clothes or ‘merch’ but more interested in the aspect of helping me display my artwork with finer standards. I intend to keep some of my artwork unframed, as I have done in past solo exhibitions in Tokyo. Most of them will be framed, but I want to keep the authenticity of my display used in Japan since it’s my first exhibit in the US. Along with the first exhibition in the states, this will be the launch event for the clothing collection as well. The collection has no more than seven items focusing on two items: the crying daisy blouse and the Murasaki PJ set.
What would your dream collaboration look like?
I want to be able to collaborate with not only every successful artist friend of mine but the ones that I’ve aspired to since a very young age. My focus right now though is to create bigger pieces!
What’s next for Julia Abe, any new projects coming up or dreams coming true?
Assuring that I don’t let go of this momentum and balance in between creative and professional life is essential. Might start working on a second apparel collection very soon!