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2023 Julie Beck Winner of the Audrey Love Memorial Award, $5,000.

Julie Beck confessed that the eclectic collection of objects in her award-winning still life somehow, mysteriously, adds up to a self-portrait. The oil painting captured the $5,000 Audrey Love Memorial Award, the top honor for the 110th annual Allied Artists of America juried exhibition, displayed online and at the renowned Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH.


The still life/self-portrait is a curious composition that features purple boots, a skull, three books, a blue doll, and a mirror ball that captures muted reflections of Beck. The objects sit atop a worn blue box and a background with spotted leopard patterns. Cast shadows abound, sculpting the objects.


“Originally I had started this set up with just the purple boots,” Beck explained. “During set up, as usual, things got out of hand and it became a collection of my favorite things: skulls, leopard print, boots, and the yellow/green and purple color scheme. The small mirror ball is another common element I love to add to paintings,” she continued. “A fun detail is that my reflection in the mirror is me just about to touch the canvas with a brush. The little yellow garage sale sticker in the lower left-hand corner (25 cents) is an ode to my grandmother, because neither of us can pass up a good deal.”


Beck said her paintings are representational in nature, but often surreal in composition and design. “They are both familiar and unexpected. While grounded in reality using both scale and tromp l’oeil realism, I play with the viewers experience of both the two dimensional plan of the painting surface and three dimensional space it implies.”


Beck attended Roger Williams University in Rhode Island where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. After a 10-year career in graphic design/video editing, she moved to Boston and became immersed in the Academy of Realist Art (ARA), which “became the catalyst for a complete life overhaul.” She serves as an instructor as well as the assistant director of the ARA.

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