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Julianna Swaney:
Art at Belmont



I grew up in the wilds of Michigan, playing out in the woods behind my house every day and cultivating a love of animals and bird watching. I would spend seemingly endless days observing and watching the plants and animals around me. My parents were bird watchers and every family vacation revolved going to some distant place to see a bird with an exotic sounding name. I was lucky enough to have an early education that also cultivated my imagination and I always had a love of fairytales and magic that I could find in the real world though nature and history. It’s these experiences that have had the greatest effect on my work.

Though the fairytales and folktales I grew up on I felt like I could understand a universe that was confusing and often frightening, but beautiful and mysterious. I didn’t believe in fairies or elves but I firmly believed that everything, animals, trees, rocks, had a voice, and that if I listened hard enough they would be guides for me. Today I may look at the natural world more rationally than I did then I was a child but I don’t think it can be reduced to a set of abstract principles. There is a human element that is essential to our understanding of the non-human world. Intermingling with facts are patterns and traces, lingering echoes of childhood stories, of folklore and fairy tales.