Mix Colors Art Studio is unique setting for families to create and de-stress
“In my mind, art is for everyone,” says Julia Turner, owner of Mix Colors Art Studio in Bristow. This coming February will be the one-year anniversary of the opening of this fun space where children, adults, and families can create something beautiful while relaxing and enjoying time together. With a lifelong love and talent for art, after studying for a bachelor’s degree in art and master’s in education and art and 17 years teaching art and graphic design at Northern Virginia Community College, Turner eventually began to seek a return to experiencing “art for the sheer pleasure of art.” She left the classroom and began to pursue ideas for bringing her enthusiasm for the craft to her community.
When Turner began to envision the space that ultimately became the studio, there was one concept she was determined to incorporate that had nothing to do with the brick and mortar aspect. She desired for Mix Colors Art Studio to be a non-judgement zone — a departure from what most people experience day to day. Especially in Northern Virginia, where our jobs and daily responsibilities can be quite overwhelming at times, Turner wanted her studio to be a place for relieving some of that stress. “So many times I hear people in the studio say how relaxing it is to paint, color, pinch clay, or create something new with their own hands and minds,” she explains. Turner promotes free expression and encourages kids to get messy and produce anything their minds come up with, but also reminds adults to “get back to the carefree days of creating art.” This comes from her realization that adults sometimes hesitate to participate for fear of being judged and therefore may need the outlet maybe even a little bit more than kids these days.
“I really strive to create a comfortable, creative environment where all artists can freely express themselves and have creative success. In my mind, art is for everyone” says Turner.
Inspiration for Turner is derived from some artists she refers to as “the masters”: Jasper Johns, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ansel Adams. She holds a fond appreciation for mixed media art, which means combining multiple mediums into one composition. This could involve creating art using photography, paint, wax, paper, ink, yarn, and so much more, Turner explains. Jasper Johns is one example of a well-known mixed media artist whose techniques are admired, but the aspects of O’Keeffe and Adams that inspire Turner are the use of nature imagery — something she tries to incorporate into her own pieces. But overall, “their different perspectives and applications of nature in art demonstrate that there are no standards that need to be followed.”
Deciding on the name Mix Colors Art Studio wasn’t difficult for Turner. As only a true artist would, she designed the logo first by creating a visual of colors overlapping colors to make new colors. The name just came naturally after. In the relatively short time the studio has been open, the community has supported it tremendously. The popularity has continued to build, mostly due to word of mouth from families who have enjoyed their time there and spread the word to their own friends and family. “People come in and continuously say how nice it is to have a family-oriented art venue that serves both adults and children,” says Turner.
Although there has been a recent explosion of art-centered businesses in the local Northern Virginia area, they are not all the same. What makes Mix Colors Art Studio unique is its ability to provide opportunities for children and adults to explore all different types of art, including fused glass, pallet and canvas painting, ceramics, jewelry making, string art, and many unique crafts using all types of materials. The studio offerings include art courses, specialty classes, “walk-in and create” hours, a homeschool program, parties and events, and seasonal programs and camps. Some of the programs run in six-week sessions so that participants can really build on their skills and techniques and really delve into the art that excites them. Birthday parties have been a hit with families and have been booked months in advance. The studio also offers hours when budding artists can walk in and create whatever they want with assistance but without formal instruction. There really is something for everyone to enjoy.
Mix Colors Art Studio is located at 9110 Devlin Road in Bristow. Go to www.mixcolorsartstudio.com or add mixcolorsartstudio on social media to be notified of all the events planned throughout this next year for this bright space that adds color and creativity to lives of families in our community.
Photos by Christine Craddock