New York-based illustrator Julia Rothman drew a focused, linear path to her career as an artist. Raised on a small island in the Bronx called City Island, she always loved drawing as a child. Her interest peaked in high school when Rothman’s mother took her to see a retrospective on a popular artist whose work was driven by New York street culture. Rothman was so inspired by what she saw that she drew a mural in the artist’s iconic style on her bedroom wall—in permanent marker. When the time came to choose a college, she applied to only one: Rhode Island School of Design. “When I was accepted and decided to attend, it meant I was devoted to making art my career,” Rothman says.
Her work—illustrating, making patterns and curating art projects—continues to be her biggest passion. Rothman’s process begins by hand-sketching or painting her designs, then digitally manipulating them. And when she’s in need of inspiration, she simply takes a walk around her Brooklyn neighborhood. “I am inspired by random things—an antique shop window filled with old typewriters, a pair of shoes a man is wearing on the subway, the rows of hubcaps for sale at a body shop,” Rothman says. “All of these things have inspired patterns I made.”