Artsy Insight: Julie Blackmon and the Jan Steen Household

Family plays a large role in photographer Julie Blackmon’s life and work: she grew up as the eldest of nine children, and is now a mother of three. “[The] conflation of art and life is an area I have explored,” she explains. Endeavoring to capture the intersection of domestic reality and fantasy, Blackmon takes her cue from 17th and 18th century Dutch canvases, and their skilled depiction of controlled chaos, particularly paintings by Jan Steen, whose paintings of rowdy families led to the Dutch expression “Jan Steen household.” “I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary,” says Blackmon. “It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged.”

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