...claudine ko

Julia Rothman
Paper Magazine, April 2008

When you enter artist Julia Rothman’s apartment/work studio in GoSlo— the edge of Brooklyn’s Park Slope that’s near the Gowanus Canal – a white Wheaton terrier will immediately jump silly all over you. Then Julia, 27, will tell you it’s a girl, named after the Rudy Huxtable character from The Cosby Show. Before you know it, you’ll get Julia to spill the beans on everything from growing up in the only Jewish family on New York’s City Island, her older sister who studies mountain gorillas in Uganda, and best of all, the fact that she used to be a party starter  -- the dancer who accompanied the DJ to, like, Bar Mitzvah’s and lead the crowd to Y-M-C-A. Of course, this was all before she took an art class her senior year of high school and got accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design.

These days, she’s become sort of an art star in the world of pattern design. In January 2007, after deciding to venture into the medium, Rothman sent the link of her website to Design Sponge, an online home- and product- design blog. “I owe everything to Grace Bonney, “ she says of the site’s creator. “She put up five or six of my patterns, and that was it. Then I got Chronicle Books writing me, Urban Outfitters, everybody.” Her patterns are eclectically simple: U-turns, ladders, clocks, silverware, hummingbirds. “I live near a rim shop – like rims for your tires. I’ll pass by and there are all these rims in a row. Everyday, I’m like,  ‘When am I going to do that rims pattern?’” says Rothman, whose work has been plastered on everything from wallpaper, pillows and mugs to My Little Pony paraphernalia, and now,  Hello! Lucky Letterpress stationary. “Ordinary items are the most exciting because it’s unexpected –things peoples forget about. You know, everybody makes flower patterns."