Juliana Naufel is a Brazilian artist who invites us to become aware of different realities and support each other as women through her art practice. She uses her passion for life to inspire powerful messages that she exposes through her embroidered photographs. The compositions are visual healing poems creating a new version of the world that is filled with love, affection and joy. Her work reminds us to prioritize the things in life that bring us hope and peace and with every stitch that she makes, Juliana wants to share her experience with us and encourage our cognizance of the little things in life that make us unique. Her work truly comes to life with intimacy and care, as we can all reflect on the themes of nostalgia, identity, and connection. Juliana’s passion for witty storytelling allows her to transform long forgotten moments into a whimsical art piece. Naufel’s artworks can be found in a number of private collections around the world, including The Wonders of Women Museum, USA, The Kanyer Art Collection, USA and Museu das Bandeiras, Brazil. Juliana Naufel was a longlisted artist of Women United Art Prize 2021, and was awarded 3rd Place at the SeeingWomen 2020 Awards, by Photos de Femmes, France. She has participated in artist residencies in Brazil at Museu São Pedro (2016 & 2018) and had a solo exhibition “Qual é o tempo do afeto?”, 2022, at the Museum of Image and Sound of Santos, Brazil, “When You’re a Woman”, 2021, a virtual exhibition curated by Katia Canton and “Era seu lugar favorito”, 2018 at Galeria Alcindo Moreira Filho, Brazil. Her work was also exhibited in group shows in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States. The artist earned her MA Degree in Art Therapy from Universidade Cândido Mendes and her BA in Visual Arts from São Paulo’s State University. She is represented by PxP Contemporary & Showfields. In 2020, Naufel Co-Founded Photo Trouvée Magazine - an Art Platform that showcases contemporary artists who use found photographs as a medium in their works.
When was the first time you felt like you were an artist?
Even though I’ve always been the creative and artistic kid, I’ve always had a hard time considering myself an artist. I have a BFA in Visual Arts and I believe it was only the moment that I had my first solo exhibition back in 2018 and one of my artworks went viral for the first time that I was able to say it out loud that I am an artist and even feeling like a ‘real artist’. As bad as it is - and I’m sure that many people that deal with or have dealt with impostor syndrome can relate to it - receiving exterior validation for me was a way to validate my own artistic practice and finally feel like an artist, regardless of a lifetime creating and expressing myself through art.
What would you say is the underlying thread that connects your work?
My golden thread is definitely spreading messages of hope and affection in a world that needs to be constantly reminded that life can be wonderful and magical even when things seem challenging. I see my practice as an irreversible gesture of love and with my artworks I aim to remind people to prioritize the things in life that brings us peace. Also to have courage to co-create a new version of the world that is sprinkled in color, spontaneity and joy. I feel that my life experience and the energy that I put into creating art is also an underlying thread that connects everything I do even when I am exploring different techniques.
What is the most satisfying part of your practice?
The most satisfying part of my practice is feeling like I’m serving my purpose as a creative channel to spread loving messages through my art. It’s always amazing to see people connecting with my artworks and letting me know that a certain piece spoke to them or that they felt comprehended or that it was the message that they needed to be reminded of at that exact moment in their lives.
Tell us about a turning point in your artistic journey and/or career.
A turning point in my artistic journey and career was hiring my first coach and learning about the business side of being an artist. Before that, I would feel guilty about selling my work and I had the limiting decision that I was doomed to be a starving artist and would always have to have a part-time or full-time job to make a living. Changing my perception about that to understanding that my art is a blessing to this world and that I am worthy of having financial freedom made me open myself more to receiving money with what I do. As a result, it allowed me to take better care of myself, to start creating my own opportunities, and most importantly to grow not only as an artist but also as a person.
If you could show your work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’m so grateful that my art has reached places that I never thought it would and it has traveled way more than I have so far! But two of my big dreams is having my work exhibited and part of MASP’s collection in São Paulo, Brazil and also at MoMA, New York, USA. These are two of my favorite museums and it would be not only magical seeing my art there but most importantly to show other queer, Latinx, women artists that we also belong to these prestigious institutions and that our work deserves to be seen and celebrated by ourselves, our communities, and also by the art world.