Julie Rosenberg: Creator of Custom Hand-Painted Guitars
Looking for the perfect gift for the music lover in your life? Look no further than a custom hand-painted guitar from artist Julie Rosenberg! Julie has been painting guitars since college. The process is intricate and detailed that takes around 14-weeks to complete. Learn more about this process, Julie, and how to get one of these beauties for yourself or your child!
Westchester Family: We love your beautiful hand-painted guitars! What inspired you to start doing this?
Julie Rosenberg: It was on the heels of my college graduation when I sat down to paint my first two guitar bodies. I needed a creative outlet. As a guitarist and visual artist, painting the guitar body, using it as my canvas, was a natural thing for me to do. Growing up, the electric guitar always represented a work of art to me. From the beauty in its form to the music it makes, I couldn’t keep my eyes or my hands off of my electric guitar.
Westchester Family: How long does the process take you? What does it look like when working with different people/preferences?
Julie Rosenberg: From start-to-finish, a finished guitar takes around 14-weeks to complete. There are a few phases. My painting phase takes 6-8 weeks, and before I even get to work on it, there is the prep phase to render the unfinished wood surface sanded and sealed to accept my paint. The clear coat protects the artwork and produces a high gloss finish. Finally, the assembly and set-up phase takes another couple of weeks.
When I design a guitar to sell in my online store, I make decisions based on preferences that I have for what I want the finished product to look and sound like. When I create a guitar on commission, I take into consideration any preferences my customer may have in hardware and pickups, parts, etc. The question I ask is if there is a guitar of mine that speaks to the customer, a design that inspires or reflects their taste.
I’d also tell them not to copy designs, be it my own or someone else’s. The dialogue ensues. We exchange emails, phone calls. Once we are on the same page, I begin the process of gathering direction, visualizing the design. I send pics along the way and will post on social media only once I give my customer the first-look. It is important to me to have their first reaction before I send out to thousands of people. I am fulfilled when I honor the preferences in my customer while still being true to my own artistic style and sensibility.
Westchester Family: Do you sell them locally in Westchester?
Julie Rosenberg: My customers are from all over the United States. As a life-long resident of Westchester County, I have lots of musician and artist friends, collectors, etc., and do plan to get the guitars showcased and sold locally.
Westchester Family: Why is music/art important to you?
Julie Rosenberg: Music and art have always been my lifeline. Meaning, no matter what is going on in my world, I can get lost in playing music. When I play guitar and I’m alone, all previous thoughts, worries, etc., disappear. It is a sublime “time out.” I’m transported into a pocket of musical bliss. It is like being inside of an abstract painting. And also, I love the way it connects me to my favorite musicians. Queuing up a song and playing along to a Carole King tune or Led Zeppelin, is something I am grateful to have at my fingertips. When, I play music with others, I get a sense of pure connection that flows between us. Playing music, for me, equals happiness and love, which is very fulfilling and also lots of fun.
I love how playing guitar is both physical and mental. It is as creative a stimulation for my mind, as much as it is for my hands. You can’t help but draw-in muscle memory, but mental (visual) memory is active in the background, as it configures shapes of chords and scales, fretboard positions and patterns and more. Playing music gives an outlet for my inner rhythm. I am a huge listener of music and enjoy many genres.
Westchester Family: What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue an artistic/musical life?
Julie Rosenberg: First and foremost, I’d say: go for it! If music beats within your every waking and non-waking moments as it does for me, if your life force frequency vibrates in a musical or artistic fashion, then you must express that language as it is essential to your own wellbeing. Choosing to play music and choosing it as a profession may be two different things.
I played music in my youth and when I went into college as a BFA Jazz Guitar major, I quickly found out that it wasn’t the career choice for me. At that time, the study of music, the theory classes and all I was required to take in the music conservatory, felt stifling. It wasn’t until I was older that I was able to appreciate that “second language.” Today, I am reconnected with my musical roots, theory and all, and very happy about that.
Westchester Family: What do you enjoy doing in Westchester?
Julie Rosenberg: I love going to art and music events. I love walk and hike the beautiful land trusts and open land preserves of Northern Westchester. I enjoy cycling hour scenic roads, and dining out at our local restaurants. I have lots of family and friends in Westchester and love spending time with them!
Westchester Family: Anything else to add?
Julie Rosenberg: It can take a person many years to listen to and follow the beat of their own drum. As a kid who grew up with a flair for art, music and sports, I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have the freedom and support to fully explore my own interests and gifts. I am grateful to my parents for saying “yes” to allowing the guitars and amplifiers, drum kits, and jam sessions with screeching loud feedback in our house.
To all parents of musical and artistic kids, I would say to nurture those qualities in your child. I thank my parents for realizing that academics is not the only language there is to learn and master and that art and music are invaluable tools to help a child in their development on so many levels.