Until this spring, Julie Bullock worked full time in Redding as a software quality-assurance tester. Then she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream of becoming an artist. In March, she started DB Designs—short for Doodle Bug Designs. Now, Bullock travels to fairs and markets all over the North State, and she runs a regular booth at Chico’s Thursday Night Market, where she sells abstract artwork and alcohol ink on glass. She also hosts parties to teach others how to paint and makes commissioned pieces for customers. The CN&R sat down with Bullock, who talked about making alcohol ink, as well as her optimistic approach to painting and life. Follow DB Designs on Facebook to see her artwork, or visit her booth at the Thursday Night Market in downtown Chico.
What does your art say about you?
I am a very intuitive painter. I don’t have a preconceived notion of what I am going to paint; I just grab the colors I like at the time. My work is all about letting the paint do what it is going to do and being happy with the result.
How do you make your paint?
I don’t make all my paint, but it’s really easy to do. I researched for a while before switching to alcohol ink, and I learned you could make it with Sharpies. Basically, you take a Sharpie pen apart; soak the ink in rubbing alcohol, and voilà! You have paint! The alcohol ink works really well for nonporous surfaces, and there are a lot of nonporous surfaces that are dying to be painted.
What objects do you paint?
I like to make art out of things that are already created. I buy picture frames, paint the glass, and then have a frame for my work. Or, I paint candle holders, cups, ceramic tiles or even light switch covers. I experiment with painting between two pieces of glass in a frame, and I currently have an idea of painting the globes around ceiling lights.
How do people react to your abstract work?
It’s been amazing. My first time at a fair was on Mother’s Day, and I was scared that people wouldn’t like my work. Instead, I didn’t hear a single negative thing, and they loved all the colors. People’s reaction to the glass has been positive and really uplifting. Feedback like that makes the 10 or so pieces I make every day worth it and easy to do. It makes me feel like if you believe in your dream, you can do it. My saying has been, “Keep a smile in your heart and color in your soul,” and I think my art helps maintain that.