Show us your space: Julie Abijanac

From light-filled private painting studios to collaborative offices with cityscape views, the varied workspaces of CCAD students and alumni represent the multitude of career paths an art and design school can help forge. Here’s a peek into where several of our students and grads make the magic happen M–F (or, sometimes, 24/7).


Julie Abijanac

Fine Arts, 1992

CCAD Associate Professor of Contemporary Crafts and Fine Arts

julie abijanac in workspace

Photo taken by Ty Wright for CCAD. 

Julie Abijanac employs recycled paper, fiber, and other materials to dramatic effect— using the material to create lush, elegant, and downright beautiful works of art that have a not-so-beautiful genesis: Abijanac’s personal struggle with cancer.

Born in Germany, Abijanac moved to Columbus as a child, earned her BFA from CCAD and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She is now Associate Professor of Contemporary Crafts and Fine Arts at Columbus College of Art & Design.

Her professional practice outside the educational community includes  II International Textile Art Symposium: FORTRESS MAN at the Mark Rothko Center in Daugavpils, Latvia, 9th & 8th International Paper Triennial at the Musée du Charmey, Switzerland, FiberArt International 2013 (where she received the People’s Choice Award), and 68th Annual Ohio Exhibition 2012 (where she placed first in Fiber/Textiles). Abijanac also is a recipient of the Capelli d’Angeli Foundation 2013 Artist Grants for a woman artist whose work is a response to having and coping with cancer.

Abijanac has work on view in the exhibition Duo Trio: Contemporary Diptychs and Triptychs by 14 Ohio Artists, in the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery through April 13, 2019. In addition, in April, she will have work in a group exhibition in Cuba.

We recently spoke with Abijanac about her happy place—her art studio in Columbus.

Can you describe your studio?

My studio is organized, clean, and comfortable. It’s a place for me to work and do research. It’s a space that makes me happy.

What kind of work do you do in this space?

My work is a reflection of my personal struggle with, and surviving, cancer. The pieces range from relief to three-dimensional sculptures that explore the systematic development of cancer cell/Cordyceps metastasis and examines the relationship these organisms have with their host.

Each piece depicts a shape quality or motif from specific field-stain specimens or Cordyceps, which are then used in multiple iterations. Compositional aspects are portrayed with the use of these individual segments/shapes and subsequently fused together to create highly decorative modules.

With the use of recycled paper, fiber, wood, stone, and beads, the fundamental elements of visual art are put to use including space, shape, texture, movement, and pattern. Close up, the three-dimensional decorative and textural qualities of these works are elegantly graceful, but also intricately complex, just as life itself is at once lush and beautiful in the face of an utterly unpredictable future. I aspire to create works that provide a connection between the viewer and the beauty found in the organic development of cellular growth in a potentially deadly disease/parasite.

How do you work?

I am an early bird. I am usually in my studio by 9 a.m. and work long days, usually 6 to 8 hours. When I’m in the studio, I try to work on one piece at time. But sometimes one idea generates others. I have worked on more than one piece at a time but, prefer to finish one and move on.

What do you love about your space?

The light and amount of room I have.

Find Julie Abijanac on her website, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Learn more about CCAD’s Fine Arts and Contemporary Crafts programs or apply here.

Are you a Columbus College of Art & Design alum making work in an eye-catching, unusual, or otherwise compelling space? We’d love to see it! Fill out the form here for an opportunity to be featured.