Ex Libris: Denver Artists - Julia Williams (aka The Designosaur)

Mighty stegosauruses, triceratops and other long-necked dinosaur giants once roamed the land of Colorado during the Jurassic Period. There are several paleontological sites and museums across Colorado where you can see ancient fossils of the state's earliest residents…there are also a few walls around the state where you can see some of the work of a less than ancient creature called, The Designosaur!!

Known to friends as Julia Williams, she is a warm-blooded artist that displays colorful outfits she designs, and can be found at the top of ladders, shedding empty spray cans. A graduate of Colorado State University, Julia sharpened her teeth on design work with places like the Denver Zoo and Elitches before becoming both a senior designer and art director for two different firms. 

However, her appetite for art grew as her portfolio did and soon she had moved into spray paint on walls, with a style so unique, you could say it glows. Soon after she started her own company focusing on murals and custom environments while participating in just about every art and music festival she could. She also took what little extra time she had and decided that the people at these festivals needed fancier clothing and started designing that as well.

We were lucky enough to hunt her down and borrow a few moments to get the story on what books and Libraries mean to an apex predator of blank walls….

Learn more and follow Julia:
Designosaur Instagram | Electro Threads InstagramWebsite

Julia Williams on Art, Books, and Libraries

  1. What book as a kid, influenced your imagination to pick up a crayon and begin making art?

    Dinotopia! I have always loved dinosaurs! As a kid I was completely fascinated by the unique world that James Gurney created where humans and dinosaurs live together in a utopia. I am still inspired everyday by the scenes he creates, melding the fantastical and the realistic, and his use of light and color to bring things to life. Another huge influence for me were books written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg, like the Island of Skog and The Three Sillies. Kellogg was a distant relative of mine, and I got to meet him several times throughout my childhood - he was the first example I saw of someone with a career as an artist, and I loved the stories and illustrations he created. His artworks were so playful, detailed and imaginative, and I would create similar scenes of my own that were inspired by his style. More than that, he showed me that being an artist was a viable career option, and gave me something to work toward in the future.

  2. What book are you currently reading that influences you in either a creative way or a professional way?

    Currently reading The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. I love science fiction (I love thinking about space, other dimensions, impossible realities), and the fact that this book is also about Kaiju... what more could you ask for? Fantastical creatures and inventive environments constantly inspire me, as well as compelling fictional stories.

  3. What do you think is the most important resource that Libraries provide to you as an artist?

    I really love the maker spaces and ideaLABs. I have been able to make so many cool things by using the resources there. Having free access to all kinds of tools and technologies that would be prohibitively expensive to buy is such a game-changer for creativity. The staff is always extremely knowledgeable and willing to help with any project, which is amazing! I have made things as simple as laser-cut jewelry to as complex as a 3D-modeled and printed costume headdress with the help of the makerspace.

  4. What is your current/favorite/most-used branch of the Denver Public Library?

    The Central Library! I love the architecture of the building and the setting is inspiring, which just adds to the whole experience for me. I think it is awesome they have a centrally located ideaLAB for young artists in the city and the art book collection is amazing.

  5. If you were offered a gigantic wall on the outside of a Library, what would your paint to display what a library means to you?

    I would paint a child reading and their imagination going wild with fictional characters, environments, and adventures! I think stoking our imaginations is one of the most important things we can do as humans to stay inspired and positive, so I would want to bring that message through vibrant and playful imagery.

Ex Libris: Denver Artists is a series featuring local street artists, focusing on their connection to books and the importance of libraries to the artistic community. Series concept and interview by Sean Ryerson.

Written by angela on