Julia Haft-Candell’s unique sculptures are inspired by intuition informed by her surroundings, education, interests, background and history. Of course, there are some non-intuitive decisions that she makes, like structural plans or choosing types of clay, but Julia considers her Southern California-based studio to be an alternate dimension where intuition rules.


Drawing was a regular activity throughout this artist’s childhood, and through that passion, she enrolled in serious art classes in high school. Julia always knew she wanted to study art and excelled an amazing ceramics program in college and that’s where she first started using clay in her artwork. Using clay felt like she could not only make drawings in 3D, but also exercise the extensive process, science, surprises, and community that surrounds this practice.


We are eager to see her life-size installation along the L.A. River called Denim Chain on Trees that features a partnership between Clockshop and California State Parks to activate an 18-acre post-industrial lot – if you’re local, you should check it out.


AZ had a quick chat with Julia to hear more about her interesting process.


Art Zealous: Astrological sign?

Julia Haft-Candell: Leo.


AZ: Favorite spot in LA?

JHC: The beach.


AZ: Tell us about your sculptures -where do you draw inspiration?

JHC: Sculptures are inspired by intuition.  My intuition is informed by my surroundings, education, interests, background and history. There are some non-intuitive decisions that I make, like structural plans or choosing types of clay, but I consider my studio to be almost like an alternate dimension where intuition rules.



AZ: How do you incorporate the following principles in your work: space, texture, & shape?

JHC: Space, texture and shape are integral to everything I make. I sometimes install my work outside, in nontraditional places. The space that I place the work in gives a totally different context to the piece, at times confusing or disorienting the viewer (in a good way I hope). I also think about negative space, that is the space around and in between the object.


One of my favorite things about working in ceramics is the potential of creating many different textures. Sometimes I use my fingers to create texture, sometimes a glaze can bubble and crack; I am interested in using texture to show different parts of the process.


Shape is often started with an intuitive idea or vision and then I work on several pieces at once, so one sculpture’s shape can influence the next and so forth.




AZ: Rumor has it you’re working on a giant denim chain for a public installation in Los Angeles.

JHC: I am working on a large denim chain in collaboration with Clockshop and California State Historic Parks. It is made from foam, denim and aqua resin and it is draped across several palm trees with their tops chopped off, overlooking the LA River.



AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

JHC: I have an upcoming solo show with Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in Los Angeles in the coming year, and a two-person exhibition at Interface Gallery in Oakland in the Spring.


Follow Julia on Instagram: @haftcandell