In advance of Artbeat Studio’s 24-Hour Art-a-thon Feb 6 to 7, CNC profiles the artists participating in this event that is raising funds for Artbeat Studio, an organization supporting artists with mental illness. Click here to read the other profiles.
Julian Kirchmann turned 18 just three days before starting his residency at Artbeat Studio, an organization that gives artists living with mental illness a studio space to work in for six months.
“You could say I was cutting it close,” says Kirchmann with a laugh, referring to the fact the minimum age for Artbeat Studio is 18.
For Kirchmann, it was a natural progression and starting point to continue learning and growing as an artist.
“I’ve always really liked art. My sister was more into sports, and my brother was also into sports and academics. I didn’t feel like I held a space in cross-country skiing and cycling and I had to find my niche elsewhere.”
Kirchmann always felt drawn to art, but it was his teacher in high school that inspired him to take another approach to creating it.
“She was really encouraging and her projects were different and made me put more thought into things–it was challenging.”
However challenging it was, it soon became a catharsis for Kirchmann during his recovery time. He remembers feeling helpless and using art as a necessary means to get better. It was something for himself.
“There was a lot of sticker labels,” says Kirchmann describing that time in his life. “And if I could do anything, [art] would be that to help myself.” Kirchmann also took art therapy before applying for residency at Artbeat Studio.
He says that during his Artbeat Studio residency, he felt intimidated and excited by the limitlessness of the program.
“Given all this freedom, safe space, it didn’t matter what I produced. It was non-judgmental–you had the ability to do whatever you wanted.”
Kirchmann says he likes making collages out of old National Geographic magazines and textbooks, but also enjoys working with watercolour paints, and he sometimes combines the two.
After Artbeat, Kirchmann enrolled in the Fine Arts program at the University of Manitoba where he has now completed his first semester.
Julian Kirchmann is one of seven Artbeat Studio alumni participating in the 24-Hour Art-a-thon from Feb. 6-7, 2014 beginning at 5 p.m. The 24-Hour Art-a-thon is an event to raise money for Artbeat Studio’s endowment fund, which supports its core-programming. To support Julian and Artbeat Studio, please visit The Winnipeg Foundation’s website to donate online.