Artist Statement

I have been working to create a natural oasis on my urban property for many years. My surroundings permeate my work and I use images from what I see or imagine might be there. I have also painted landscapes for many years. But the garden, which I walk through to get to my studio, is my most constant and immediate source of inspiration: the way the pathways meet the rocks, plants finding their way through the metal gates, the ever-changing light and weather, these impressions all feed my visual compositions. Birds entered my work unexpectedly a few years ago. I needed a wedding gift for my brother whose hobby is birdwatching. With their arresting poses, energy and antics, birds provided everything I want in my work: drama, design, beauty. They immediately became a favorite subject.

Artist Biography

Painter and printmaker Julie Zahn was raised in Bethesda, Maryland. Her mother, artist Ann Zahn, operated a professional printmaking studio. After college, Julie spent several years in a countryside town in Japan painting landscapes and still-lifes. After returning to the States, she enrolled in the 4-year Certificate program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She was awarded a travel scholarship upon graduation and spent a year in Kyoto working with an antique screen restorer. Toward the end of her stay there, she discovered katazome or Japanese stencil dyeing, a paste-resist technique traditionally used for textiles. Attracted by its painterly quality, she adapted it to paper using acrylics and pigments with gojiru, a soybean binder, creating paintings with a printmaking element. She uses katazome, woodcut and painting to create her distinct, recognizable work. Her studio is in East Mt. Airy and she exhibits regularly in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.


Apprentice, Japanese screen restorer

1986 - 1990
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Certificate Program

Earlham College, BA English Literature & French

Awards and Honors

6th Annual Juried Watercolor Exhibition, 3rd prize, Hopkins House, Camden, NJ

Dream Images, exhibition, 3rd prize, Manayunk Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA

Joseph S. Wohl Memorial Award, Main Line Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Works on Paper, 2nd prize for student work, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Windsor Newton Painting Award, Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Annual, Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Awards

The J. Henry Schiedt Memorial Traveling Scholarship

The Cape May County Arts League Teaching Internship

ARCO Chemical Co. Purchase Prize

Jeanne Culver Prize

Woodcut Purchase Prize, Special Notice

The Franklin C. Watkins Memorial Grant

Louis and Estelle Pearson Memorial Prize

Traditional Media Print Prize

Related Work Experience

Cathedral Village Art Teacher

Conshohocken Arts League, Faculty

Allens Lane Art Center, Figure drawing monitor (weekly)

Workshops on Japanese stencil dyeing and mixed-media techniques

Annual Show, Juror, Ocean City NJ Arts League

March 2010, April 2013
Curator, Penn Charter Triennial Art Show

2006, 2007
Curator, Exhibitions at St. Asaphs Gallery for Philadelphia Open Studio Tours

2003-2005 2003-2005
Art Teacher, Classroom on Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA

Art Classes, Manayunk Art Center

Apprentice to antique screen restorer, Kyoto Japan