Skip to main content

Julie Sharpe
Milk It

gouache and colored pencil on board
10″ x 14″


Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu

Art Prof & Partner

Yves-Olivier Mandereau

Teaching Assistant
Ceramic Artist

Lauryn Welch, Painter & Performance Artist

Lauryn Welch

Teaching Assistant
Painter & Performance Artist

Artist Statement
This illustration is a commentary on the corrupt dairy industry in the United States. The large man holding the tubes represents the corporate giants forcing cows to produce milk. These large corporations take advantage of small farms, lobby to create a false demand for milk, and, in some cases, promote the exploitation of cows.

Donate to keep Art Prof free for all!


3 responses on "Julie Sharpe"

  1. Technically this piece is pretty impressive! Your colors are eye catching and clear, perfect for the editorial market that you’re looking for in this piece. Your handling of the gouache is also really crisp and clean. The concept is powerful, and I think that the trick with visual storytelling for how to move this piece further is to push your concept even more – to a realm that surprises the viewers in some way!

    A phenomenal illustrator working today in editorial work is Angelica Alzona, and I’d really recommend seeing some of the work she makes! It’s got an element of subtlety to the narrative that doesn’t give the story away, but merely suggest it.

    Think of how else you could symbolize profit over animal care, other than dollars? Turning your concept over and over again can really help you stretch the conceptual illustrator brain! But this piece shows so much fun and clear execution! I’m really excited to see how your work goes forward!

  2. This piece is so fun and feels so assured in a lot of ways, but I do think that some of the artist’s stronger instincts are being slightly misapplied… I agree with a lot of the points already made in this critique, but I think the main thing that makes this feel like a portrait rather than an editorial illustration is the composition: The corporate business man character is so much the focus of the piece, due not only to the vibrancy and specificity of the color choice, but largely because of the figure’s exaggerated size and central placement. I love that impulse to play with scale, but I’m not sure it should be applied to the figure, since – as Prof. Lieu makes clear – this character could just as easily be anonymous, and thus more symbolic.

    The cows are the most important element in terms of cluing us into the illustration’s concept, and yet they take up the least amount of space in the image, and their silhouettes are cropped! If the artist were to do another round of sketches on this piece, they should proceed by first asking themselves the question: Which of these elements are most important to the narrative? Which need to be specific, or naturalistic? Which should be more symbolic, exaggerated or surreal? And then see which approach works the best. T

    his artist is so clearly talented that I know they’ll make the right choices to communicate the subject effectively if they just shift their thinking – their style and technique are already so perfectly primed for it!

  3. This piece is very captivating and eye catching due to its wonderfully dynamic composition and highly saturated colors. You’ve also done a great job of handling the tricky medium that is gouache!

    I would agree with Lauryn, Yves-Olivier, and Professor Lieu’s remarks regarding specificity within this piece. The corporate giant in the piece is reading more as a specific individual rather than a symbol of a corporate giant due to how unique the character design is.

    On the other hand, I crave more specificity when it comes to the actual machine forcing the cows to produce milk, and its interaction with the cows. How does this machine work and how can you really push the idea of this machine FORCING the cows to produce milk?

    I can almost see the tubes acting like a parasite, coiling around the cows and restraining them from movement as they take what they need. I do really love the positioning of the gigantic figure. It looming over the cows is very ominous and creates a clear power dynamic.

    Great job tackling such a heavy topic!

Leave a Message