young artists: Julia Lanotte

Sawyer is dedicated to putting young artists into the spotlight, and showcasing not only their work but their minds. Just one of these creators is Julia Lanotte from Long Island. 

Ok so first introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Julia Lanotte and I’m a senior in high school. I’m a photographer but most of my studies in art have been in drawing, painting, and design. 

What are you planning on studying in college?

I got into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which was one of my top choices! Their program is really cool and doesn’t have majors, so I can take any art class that fulfills my credits for my degree. I’m going to study photography, but I would love to explore and branch out in my studies. I think printmaking and fiber classes are really interesting, so I think it would be awesome to study those and incorporate them into my other artwork!

What’s something you want to accomplish in art school? 

I would love to learn how to bring all of my skills together! So far I’ve taken all of my classes separately, so I haven’t really had the opportunity to bring my work together as much. I’ve tried mixing painting into my photography, and I’ve loved the results, so I would want to push that further. I think that the art school environment would really push me to think deeper and allow me to work on more multi-media projects. 


I noticed that photography is your primary medium- what makes you feel connected to it as opposed to others? 

I’ve only recently gotten into photography compared to my other media! I really connect with photography because I can focus more on the concepts of my art more than I could in drawing or painting. I still draw/doodle for fun, but with photography I can use my camera to try out new artistic styles. At the moment I’ve really enjoyed doing portrait photography with vivid colors or colored lighting, and I don’t think my art would have the same impact if it were painted or drawn. 

How has your style evolved since you’ve started high school? 

My style has become more based on design since I’ve started high school— when I started I was still exploring what medium I worked best with, and was very new to photography. Now that I’ve had some more experience, I’ve refined my tastes and learned what I work well with, and which media I don’t vibe with (*cough*my sculptures are atrocious*cough*). This year I’m taking a design class, so I’ve been making more conscious decisions on how to use color, space, and lighting. When I first started my photography classes, I didn’t understand how the elements of design could transform a piece from something average to something beautiful. I’ve been going back into old work and looking at old negatives and using my knowledge to make my old work better!


what motivates you to create- does ur work have a message or is it more of a personal outlet for you? 

My work is fueled by my life, so I’ve made work that has had a very clear message, but I’ve also made work that just has been an outlet. When I went to the Women’s March in DC, my work had a clear message because it was so closely related to current events. Right now, I’ve been making work for my design class that has been related to femininity and how it connects to my life. As a teenager, I’m still figuring out who I am, and being feminine is closely linked to that. Some days I feel really girly and like dresses and pink and want to look and feel traditionally feminine, but that doesn’t take away from my strength and intellect. I think a lot of girls, and even boys, are going through the same thing as me, so I use my art as an outlet for those feelings. 

Last one- what are you passionate about besides art? 

I’m really passionate about activism in my community! My friends and I are working towards equality in our school, and I’m the vice president of our Gender Equality Club! We’re doing marches and walkouts to raise awareness around gun and school safety, and are speaking up about racial inequality in our school by attending Board of Education meetings, as well as spreading awareness about the issue in our school. I think it’s extremely important to reach out to help in any way possible to make a difference in our community.

You can find more of Julia's work on her website,, and follow her on Instagram ( and Twitter (@julialanotte)

Sarah KendricComment