Julius Friedman: Picture This
Louisville graphic designer and photographer Julius Friedman claims he has often wondered if he was adopted or left on the doorstep by a mysterious stranger. Friedman’s father was a druggist by trade, and young Julius was not exposed to the arts at home. Yet, he ended up an internationally renowned artist, producing a massive body of work that ranges from innovative corporate designs to stunningly beautiful fine art pieces, sometimes blurring the line between the two.
His iconic posters have gained worldwide recognition and travelled to galleries in Tokyo, Paris, Poland, and Denmark, not to mention New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. His famous Louisville Ballet poster of a dancer's shoe balanced on an egg and his “Fresh Paint” poster, featuring three egg yolks in the primary colors, are instantly recognizable in the national art landscape. (The egg connection here is a coincidence, not necessarily a theme. However, because these are two of his most recognizable images, Friedman once referred to himself as “the eggman” in a local article.)
While his work travels far and wide, Friedman keeps his roots in Louisville. He describes the River City as “a great place to live,” though it is sometimes a “hard place to make a living as an artist.” He had one “straight job” at an ad agency, a position he was so disinterested in that he left after only six weeks, going out for lunch one day never to return again.
A great supporter and enthusiast for the local performing arts and fine artists, Friedman co-owns Chapman Friedman Gallery, which represents contemporary regional, national, and international artists. He also continues to create art and exhibit his work locally. His 2010-2011 exhibit at the 21c hotel in downtown Louisville featured traditional nude photographs printed with a modern and innovative technique. The images, sometimes double exposures, are printed on raw aluminum, giving them a transcendent and surreal quality.
Friedman’s most recent photo shoots capture everything from the serenity of his 200-acre country estate to the passion and intensity of ballet dancer Erica De La O at work. Today, he continues to be one of Kentucky's most influential artists and an invaluable part of the Louisville arts community.