Short Bio

Julie Houghton grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and attended Grand View College but eventually headed to Illinois to finish her BFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1988 to 2000, she exhibited in group and individual shows around Chicago with work that consisted mostly of large figurative mixed-media drawings/paintings on paper. Fast forward a few years and Julie returned to Des Moines to raise her daughter. During that time she worked collaboratively to illustrate two children’s books: A is for Adoption by Karen Koenig (available from the artist); and Pepper’s Weekend by Lisa Fitzpatrick (Amazon). Eventually, Julie turned her attention back to fine art and became interested in abstraction and alcohol ink thanks to a class at the Des Moines Art Center. She has been exploring that medium ever since.


My work in abstraction is an intuitive and imaginative process. Originally, I was drawn to alcohol inks because of their vibrant color and interesting drying patterns and textures; plus the ink was an enjoyable way to “shake things up” with my artwork. Now I appreciate the way the medium has a mind of its own to which I can respond - by pushing with a brush, drawing into it with graphite, and moving the ink around with a blow dryer – bringing the piece to a conclusion. While the image and meaning can be different for everyone, to me the effect of the ink on slick paper brings to mind fantasy landscapes, blossoming flowers, cells and molecules, and mysterious celestial events.