Born in St. Louis, Missouri and residing in Loveland, Colorado, Julie Bender grew up with a fascination for drawing animals and has remained on that course all her life. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1981, her career took off as a computer artist and later as a project manager with web and software development firms until mid-2012.
In 2002, when her beloved Vizsla died at only nine years old, Bender found the only way to ease her pain was to make some deeply personal gesture of gratitude. Having no previous knowledge of wood-burning, she bought a hobby-shop wood-burner, and using a photograph as a guide, set out to burn her dogs portrait on a cherry wood urn. It was then that Bender found her lifes calling and worked earnestly with the goal of pursuing her art as a career. Self-taught in the art of pyrography, she continually discovers innovative ways to evolve her work and seize opportunities in which to integrate this medium in the competitive world of fine art. Her career includes international sales, museum acquisitions, top gallery representation, teaching, features in major publications, invitations to major juried international exhibitions, and show and exhibition awards. She enjoys a strong and loyal following of new and repeat students, many of whom have gone on to building their own art careers.
Bender’s passion for pyrography is matched by her accurate and artful portrayal of her animal subjects. The Western natural world is her source of continued inspiration. She frequents Colorados high country, prairies, ranches, and rodeos for inspiration in her art. She is especially keyed into that rare moment when subjects display a particular behavior or scene that makes her heart race and excites her to get started on a new work.
Pyrography is all about applying varying degrees of heat that produce monochromatic, sepia-like hues in subtle values and tones. Bender often infuses color to enhance her images and is insistent about pushing her boundaries with each work she produces. Executing with accuracy, style and imagination is key in producing unique and evocative works of art. Bender has developed and evolved bodies of work that represent the best of who she is.
Honors & Awards
2022 Loveland (Colorado) Museum exhibit – Painting with Heat: The Fine Art of Pyrography
2019 One-person show Bismarck Art & Gallery Association
2015 Stampede Committee Purchase Award – “Provin’ it in 3.2” will be used in the 2016 Greeley Stampede poster and
2015 Winner Takes All selected as a finalist in the Animal/Wildlife category of The Artist’s Magazine 32nd Annual
2015 Second Place award for “Winner Takes All” at Windows to the West Art Show & Sale, Estes Park, Colorado
2015 Fourth Place award for “Provin’ it in 3.2” at Windows to the West Art Show & Sale, Estes Park, Colorado
Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1980 University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
Bachelor of Science in Art Education, 1981 University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK