When Julia “Julz” Roth isn’t creating art or sharing it on Instagram on her @julzroth page, she’s helping people as an art therapist. The 38-year-old artist spoke to the Globe about her background, her work, and sharing art with the world.
Q. You work in a variety of styles and mediums, so how would you describe or characterize your work?
A. I categorize myself as like a mixed media artist and muralist. I often in my murals use spray paint, and then in my other paintings, and my other works, I’m really inspired by mixed media, collage, acrylic. I’m very much a painter as well, but it’s mainly mixed media, so I do it all.
Q. Can you talk about your background?
A. I’ve been painting my whole life. I don’t think I ever thought that I was necessarily going to be an artist. I started going to school for fashion design and then I realized that what I really was excited about was learning about the mind. And so my work kind of coupled together my love of art and the mind and story and narrative. I’ve been exploring that. Across basically all of the forms of work that I do, it really looks at narrative and the stories that we currently are living and the ones that we want to create.
Q. What does being an art therapist entail?
A. I work with clients individually and in groups. It’s basically like therapy, except instead of psychotherapy talking, we’re really using art as a tool for self extension to kind of ask some of those harder questions. And then the other piece of that I think is that we are all naturally creative beings and our creativity is really important, especially for the state of the world now. Creativity, as cliche as it may sound, creativity takes courage to be able to really look at some of the [topics that] require us to look deeper at ourselves.
Q. How has your work as an art therapist influenced your own artwork?
A. I think that they both kind of help to influence each other. I think in some way the work, especially the murals and the stuff that I’m doing in the street . . . the goal of that is a similar goal to the work that I try to do with my clients, and that’s basically to inspire people to think: Oh my goodness, we can paint on the walls? It’s like this world has just opened up, like we can add color to our world. We can create stories for people to tell. We are creating them, so in that regard, I think they’re very much connected; they’re just different modalities of doing it.
Q. What made you decide to start sharing your own work on Instagram?
A. I didn’t have an Instagram account for a long time. It just hadn’t really occurred to me to have one. I had a Facebook and I wasn’t really interested. And then a couple of years ago I was painting a mural in Miami, and I was looking at my partner and all my friends, and I was like, wait a moment, I don’t know how to do it, but I’m just inspired and going to post some pictures. I know it sounds silly, but there’s an art to it.Interview was edited and condensed. Lillian Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.