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How trans creative Julian Miholics uses art to depict LGBT+ identities

The work of the Ontario-based artist Julian Miholics can only be described as an open wound in a field of wildflowers. Raw yet also quietly gentle, Miholics combines hallucinatory imagery and text to create cataclysmic illustrations of human and animal figures alike.

Both his painted and ceramic works focalizes the contorted bodies of animals and otherworldly figures. Frequently, these creatures are depicted slack-jawed and wide-eyed, howling in either pain or ecstasy.


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“I find inspiration comes the same with all mediums I work with,” Miholics told Kulture Hub.

“The sense of vulnerability, rawness, hope and love, it’s all the same.”

Miholics also describes his work as an expression of personal catharsis. The recurring motifs in his body of work—yellow-bellied doves representing peace, rainbow crowned skulls, representing eternal life, and the constant presence of the word “home”—all represent the salve-like quality the work has for those struggling with similar feelings.

“Mental illness is too often hard to put into words, so art has helped to describe depression, anxiety, and psychosis,” Miholics told Kulture Hub. Miholics continued:

“As a gay trans man, I get to depict my own identity in pieces too. Too many LGBT+ people don’t get to see themselves growing up or as adults in media/art. So, I’m very happy it’s part of my job creating.”


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While he is drawn to both traditional and 3D mediums equally, Miholics found a connection with ceramic work at the H.B. Secondary’s Bealart program. Drawing inspiration from our Paleolithic ancestors, Miholics retranslates the figures from his notebooks into their present, physical forms.

Elaborating upon what attracted him to ceramic work in the first place, Miholics stated:

“[Ceramics are] an incredibly personal and intimate interaction with materials from the earth… Clay is social, cultural, and will stand the test of time for thousands of years to come.”


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In 2016, Miholics created an installation piece in honor of his late brother, who committed suicide the year previous. Titled “A Memorial for Him and My Grieving,” the piece is astonishingly raw.

The installation features two children’s lawn chairs, a cast, a stuffed dog above a Bible, a string of matches, and an original painting depicting a creature representing grief itself curled behind a house on fire.

The words “MY HOUSE” float just above the creature’s head. Discussing the piece at hand, Miholics said:

“Being able to make art about my loss and grieving as well as spread on the memory of my brother was very healing. We all live on through memory.”

Miholics is also a strong-minded social activist and uses his art to communicate this fact openly. Recently, Miholics got involved in a Twitter/Instagram scuffle this past June over a piece of his which featured a dog holding a Pride flag in its mouth. The space above the dog’s head read:

“Keep corporate and cops out of Pride.”

This, of course, is in reference to the ongoing debate concerning the presence of police at Pride events.


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In the edited caption of the Instagram post, Miholics wrote:

“Not every individual cop is a bad person but the system they choose to participate in has left a raw and bleeding gash on the community with continued abuse towards us. The only way to overcome this is a complete reformation of the police system.”

In regards to this piece as well as the political nature of some of his other work, Miholics told Kulture Hub:

“When a large amount of people made up of many minorities are telling you the policing system is inherently flawed and violent or dismissive, it’s best to listen.”

Last year, Miholics, as well as 59 fellow artists, put together a Halloween zine in order to raise money and awareness for Supporting Our Youth (SOY) Toronto, a local LGBT+ charity.

SOY helps young LGBTQ folk with life planning as well as offering mental and primary care services.


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With the help of their combined social media fanbase, the zine was able to raise $400 for SOY. Miholics plans on organizing more fundraisers similar to this in the future.

When it comes to advice regarding younger artists trying to gain an online following, Miholics said to put everything you create out into the world, even if the piece isn’t as refined as you’d like it to be.

He also suggested the use of hashtags and networking in order to build a curated audience with similar interests as you as well as experimentation with different mediums.

Most of all, however, Miholics recommended that creatives on the come up,

“Make art of what interests and inspires you, gets you up in the morning. If that passion is there, people will feel it and support you.”


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