Julia Cary’s artwork encompasses a kaleidoscopic array of colors. But she initially figured her athletic pursuits would provide a better chance of seeing green.
“My passion has always been art, but that’s not always financially stable,” Cary said. “My parents were really pushing me to play golf in college since there are more opportunities for scholarships.”
Cary, who graduated from Highland Park High School this spring, eventually decided to trade her clubs for brushes after emerging as a go-to artist for commission work in the Park Cities.
The maturity in Cary’s art defies her teenage years. Her portfolio includes works in charcoal, various paints, resin, colored pencils, and more. She does landscapes and portraiture, as well as more impressionistic projects.
And this fall, she hopes her artistic inclinations will take her halfway around the world, with plans to pursue a degree at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland.
“I love golf, but the more I had to play, the more it felt like a chore,” said Cary, who played four years for the Lady Scots, including two appearances at the Class 5A state tournament. “Art has always relaxed me. I like the competitiveness of golf, but art is more of a calming hobby.”
Beginning in sixth grade, her teachers selected Cary’s work to be part of the annual Highlander Art Festival. By her freshman year, she started doing commission work and sold drawings to friends and family.
However, her most significant influence is Polish artist Maciej Maga, who has painted portraits of celebrities ranging from Ronald Reagan to Buzz Aldrin to Chuck Norris. Cary met Maga, who is based in Dallas, through her father a couple of years ago.
“Art has always relaxed me. I like the competitiveness of golf, but art is more of a calming hobby.”Julia Cary
“He saw my gift and began mentoring me,” Cary said. “He’s extremely successful and made me see that I could do something like this.”
Maga also encouraged Cary to apply to the Matejko Academy, where Cary hopes to earn a master’s degree in interior architecture eventually. She’s started to learn about the language and culture from Halina Grodd, a neighbor with Polish ancestry.
Cary admits she prefers drawing over painting, although for the past four years, she has donated acrylic works to Flite to Freedom, a charity that uses art “to reach and empower enslaved, unfairly encumbered, or socially excluded people.”
After college, she hopes to become a full-time commission artist. Cary said she works on about 10 commissions at a time. Yet her work also provides a valuable creative outlet.
“It kind of depends on what’s going through my head at the time,” Cary said. “I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing and how to grow.”
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